The Corpse Flower

Nightlife in D.C. is not always what you might expect. One night you may find yourself on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at midnight, and the next night you may be getting ice cream in Chinatown after a Capitals hockey game. Or just maybe you’ll find yourself waiting in line at the United States Botanic Garden at 10 pm to see a giant flower that supposedly smells like a dead body. Well, for me and fellow Cardinal Ambassador Angelica, that last one can officially be checked off our bucket list.

The Corpse Flower, while only a short-lived craze, really got all of D.C. excited this week and here’s why. The flower is one of the largest flowers in the world, and the one here in D.C. stands at seven feet tall. It’s amazing to look at if only because of its size, but what’s even more phenomenal is that it only blooms once every three to ten years! Maybe what really got people excited though was the opportunity to smell the flower. Yes, it really does smell pretty gross.

Not wanting to miss out on such a unique experience, Angelica and I decided to make the short trip the Botanic Garden once the flower met peak bloom, which only lasts between 24 and 48 hours. Visiting hours at the garden were extended so everyone could see (and smell) the Corpse Flower during its rare moment of fame, so Angelica and I decided to go at night when the big crowds would be gone. Once we reached the Botanic Garden, which sits just below the Capitol building, we realized how excited people were. At 8:30 pm, the line wrapped around the entire building which takes up a block by itself. Knowing this opportunity wouldn’t come along again anytime soon, we committed to waiting.

Almost two hours later, we finally made it in! Walking into the garden was like stepping into a scene of Jurassic Park. At first we could hardly see or smell the plant with all of the people that were around it. Once we made it to the front, we experienced it in all its glory, finally understanding what the craze was all about. After snapping some pictures and taking a whiff, Angelica and I escaped into another exhibit for some fresh air. We felt a little silly for waiting in line for so long just to take a few pictures, but then we realized just how fun our night was by taking part in something we may never do again in the city we love so much.

Paige Blog Corpse FlowerPaige is a rising senior from Southern Maryland. She is pursuing degrees in both Music and English. She plans to stay in D.C. after graduation to knock more things off her bucket list which includes going to the top of the Washington Monument and getting a library card from the Library of Congress.


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