The Corpse Flower Smells, Or Maybe It's Just Your Neighbor

Depending on who you talk to, Lois the Corpse Flower may finally be doing her thing: stinking up the place.

"A dead rat," is how one woman described the faint smell.

"Cabbagey," said another.

"An old aquarium; that decaying, fishy smell," said Katherine Ellis, a museum volunteer.

"My dad," said a young viewer.

"A dead rat mixed with cabbage," said the security guard.

Unfortunately, Zac Stayton, the "corpse flower hunk" was unavailable for comment.

Hair Balls didn't catch a whiff of anything that smelled like it had been decomposing, but we did recognize that familiar funk of warm-weather driven BO. Must have been the young viewer's dad.

While her smell is not in full effect, Lois is beginning to bloom, which has the museum staff optimistic that the stench that everyone has been waiting for is not far away.

"We're thinking it may happen sometime in the next 24 hours," said Nancy Greig, the director of the Cockrell Butterfly Center. "But Lois is coy, so you never know."

Lois has been in possession of the Houston Museum of Natural Science for over six years, after a previous staff horticulturalist bought her as a walnut-sized tuber for $75. In the past week, the museum estimates that she's had over 35,000 visitors, which would make her quite the worthwhile investment. According to Greig, one Lois admirer has visited on 24 occasions.

Greig, who is all smiles when she's around Lois, is just pleased that so many non-botanists have shown an interest in the six-foot tall plant.

Greig's one concern? That "Perry," the corpse flower currently growing at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minn., will start smelling first.

The race to be the 29th blooming corpse flower in the U.S. is on.

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