This is the infamous Corpse Flower, which is known to produce a stinky odor similar to that of decaying flesh (now you know where the "corpse" appellation comes from). First discovered in 1878 by a scientist Odoardo Beccari in Sumatra, and formally know as Amorphophallus titanum, it was thought by the local people to be carnivorous because of the powerfully pungent smell. In fact, the odor exuded by the plant was intended to attract carrion beetles and small bees that would spread its pollen. The Corpse flower last bloomed in NY in 1939. It's anticipated blooming has received extensive coverage in the New York press this week.
This particular flower, housed at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, bloomed on Friday, August 11. When we saw it on Saturday at around 11am, the noxious smell had (mercifully) dissipated. Although we arrived a little too late to experience the infamous odor, we were able to see the unusual looking flower, which blooms so infrequently and for such short duration (and has provoked so much controversy over time....women weren't allowed to view it in the Victorian era).