The rare corpse flower blooms in North Carolina

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
The titan arumbegins to bloom at N.C. State University

Meet Lupin—the new wolf in town.Tucked away on the campus of North Carolina State University in the Marye Anne Fox Science Teaching Laboratory stands the 6′ 4″ tall rare titan arum, or corpse flower and it is causing quite a stir among academics and the community at large. The corpse flower name comes from the stench the plant puts off as it opens to bloom, the smell has been compared to rotting flesh and thus the name. Brandon Huber, a graduate student in the Horticultural Sciences department at NC State, and the owner of the plant has given the one housed on campus in Raleigh a name to honor its connection with NC State. Huber named his plant after the character Remus Lupin in the “Harry Potter” book series. Lupin comes from the word lupus in Latin, which means wolf, and the folks in the department seem to be adopting it, referring quite naturally to the plant by name. Huber was given his corpse flower nine years ago by the Huntington Botanical Gardens in California. The flower was in bulb form at the time and was comparable in size to a softball. “The greatest thing about it has been all of the people we’ve had come and visit Lupin from across campus, people from different departments that I’ve never met—and may have never had the opportunity to meet, that have come by just to see it. It’s so exciting.” said Diane Mays, Curator at the greenhouse conservatory. Despite the stench caused by the blooming of the flower, people filed into the greenhouse from across campus in droves on Friday morning to watch Huber perform a pollination.This is the rare plant’s first bloom and witnessing this is a once in a lifetime experience for plant lovers. In 127 years a bloom has only burst forth 200 times in cultivation. Add on top of that the fact that Huber had pollen shipped in from Wisconsin and Florida in order to pollinate the plant so he can make sure what he started lives on and you have the recipe for a virtual horticultural rock star.