What's That Smell?

What's That Smell? - Body

Construct a Corpse Flower

What can live years before blooming and smells like rotting meat when it does? It’s the Amorphophallus titanum, better known as the Corpse Flower. Native to the tropical rain forests of Sumatra, a large island in Indonesia, the Corpse Flower is quite a sight and produces a powerful smell when it blooms. Watch a video of a Corpse Flower blooming here. So why does it smell so bad? While it may be stinky to us, the odor is attractive to bees, flies, and insects that come to pollinate the flower.

Time to construct your own Corpse Flower!


  • Tissue paper in different colors
  • Ribbon, yarn or string
  • Ruler (optional)


1. Take a sheet of tissue paper in the color you want for the spadex (the tall part in the middle), roll it into a long tube and squish the ends together.

2. Take the tissue paper you want for the spathe (modified leaves) and wrap it around the bottom of your tube (spadex) and up the sides.

3. Tie the ribbon around the base to hold it all in place. Here is your Corpse Flower!

4. Gently pull the tissue spathe out a little bit at a time, to show the bloom.


1. Once your paper flower has bloomed, measure the distance across. When a Corpse Flower blooms, the spathe can grow to be 4 ft. across! What is the size difference between yours and a living Corpse Flower?

2. What colors did you decide to use for your Corpse Flower? How did you decide on those colors? Was it to help attract pollinators like bees and flies? Or was it for another reason?