It's 'Penis Flower' Bloom Season

Two "corpse flowers" or "penis flowers" bloomed in California this month.
​A corpse flower, or penis flower, in bloom. Getty Images.
A corpse flower, or penis flower, in bloom. Getty Images.

Two of the world’s biggest, smelliest, horniest flowers unleashed their rare blooms this week in California, officially making 2022 a Wet Hot Penis Flower Summer. 

The flower, Amorphophallus titanum, goes by several nicknames: most notably, the Corpse Flower for its smell, and the Penis Plant for its appearance. It’s commonly referred to as Titan Arum. They can grow as large as twelve feet high, and only bloom once every few years or decades. When they do finally bloom, they fill the air with the smell of rotten meat. Their blooms are considered a rare spectacle, lasting only a few days, and hundreds of people gather at gardens and conservatories whenever a bloom occurs. 


This year, two Titans are blooming nearly simultaneously: one at The Huntington in San Marino, California, and another at San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers. Both gardens have live streams trained on the flowers so people can watch the stinky blooms from anywhere in the world (although both are at the end of their blooms now, with the spadix—the long, white phallic part of the plant—hanging flaccid from the side). According to SFist, the Conservatory bloom likely happened Friday night or early Saturday morning, and lasted in its full phallic splendor through Sunday.

“The name amorphophallus actually means ‘shapeless penis,’” greenhouse manager Rogier van Vugt said last year when a flower in the Netherlands bloomed for the first time in 25 years. “But with a little imagination you can indeed see a penis in the plant. It has in fact a long stem and on top is a typical arum with veins. And then in the center there is a thick white spadix.” 

These are different from the penis plants that people can’t stop picking in Cambodia, and also different from the penis-esque sea creatures that keep washing up on shores in California.