- Associated Press - Saturday, July 12, 2014

WINFIELD, Kan. (AP) - With only a few days remaining before the state’s first-ever bloom of the rare, stinky corpse flower, a Kansas college has set up a 24-hour webcam for those who want don’t want to miss the big event.

Max Thompson, biology professor and greenhouse supervisor at Southwestern College in Windfield, said a corpse flower - otherwise known as the Amorphophallus titanum - bloomed last fall in Omaha, Nebraska, and another bloomed in Oklahoma City a few years ago.

But so far, Thompson knows of no other blooms occurring in Kansas, The Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/1oqqUdk ) reported.

People flock to the corpse flower because it is huge and rare - and because they are drawn to the odor of rotten meat.

“It’s unbelievable,” Thompson said of the stinky plant’s appeal. “Particularly kids. Kids love them for some reason.”

He expects Southwestern’s Amorphophallus titanum to bloom the middle of next week. A webcam trained on the plant went live on Friday and will stay running until the bloom is finished.

When the plant blooms, the greenhouse will be open for anyone who wants to see or smell the flower in person.

Thompson got a 2-inch corm, or bulb, of the corpse flower about 10 years ago from Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. Also known as the titan arum, it is native to Western Sumatra in Indonesia.

Thompson’s plant had grown about 2 feet in Southwestern’s greenhouse over the past several years before it started taking off last week when it put up what he initially thought was another leaf.

Upon taking a closer look, Thompson saw it was the beginning of a flower and he knew the countdown was on to the full bloom.

The titan arum is growing at a quickening rate - putting on inches each day - and is on its way to being taller than 4 feet. When the flower blooms, its center spadix will heat up to about 100 degrees.

The webcam link is at www.gosc.com .

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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