A 6-foot titan arum, nicknamed Woody after Buckeyes football coach Woody Hayes, opened Tuesday to reveal its bold, reddish-purple color and release its rotting-flesh smell a little over two years after it first flowered.
A second corpse flower opened briefly at the greenhouse last May, and a third is expected to open for the first time in seven to 10 days, spokeswoman Sandi Rutkowski said.
The greenhouse extends visiting hours during such blooms, but people who want to catch a peek or a whiff have to do so quickly because the rare blooms sometimes last only a day or less. Some of the plants never bloom, and there's no guarantee that those that bloom will do so again.
"I think we're pinching ourselves," Rutkowski said.
She said having three or four blooms within three years is a credit to good luck and to the skill of the Columbus greenhouse's program manager, Joan Leonard.
"It is luck, but it's also due in large part to Joan's incredible skills at getting things to grow, at nurturing them, sort of knowing what to do when," Rutkowski said.
The corpse flower is native to Indonesia's Sumatra island, according to the university.
Ohio State University greenhouse updates and video feed: http://bioscigreenhouse.osu.edu/titan-arum