This is no ordinary desk plant. But from the comfort of your workspace, you should open another browser window on your computer and watch as a rare plant gets set to bloom inside The Spheres on Amazon’s campus in Seattle.
Because not everybody can make their way into the glass-domed greenhouse/office for employees, Amazon has added a streaming video of its corpse plant — named Morticia — on Twitch, the platform it owns where folks watch and stream a variety of broadcasts.
It’s not exactly like watching grass grow, but here’s an embed of the Twitch stream:
Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the titan arum, is the largest flowering structure in the world, reaching 10 or 12 feet in height and 5 feet in width when open, according to Justin Schroeder, Spheres program manager and a member of Amazon’s horticulture team.
When the plant was added to The Spheres last month, it was 19 inches tall. By last Friday it was 52 inches tall, putting in about 3 inches per day, Schroeder said in a video interview posted on Amazon’s Twitter feed. Click here or here to watch that.
The plant, which is native to the wet and hot climate of Sumatra, was donated to Amazon by the University of Washington in 2014.
“This plant, unlike a lot of other flowers, smells really bad,” Schroeder said. “That’s why they call it the corpse flower.”
The smell is what helps attract flies and other insects that help pollinate the plant. Whether it attracts Amazonians in person, and not just on Twitch, will remain to be seen.
“It really does have the smell of rotting flesh, which, as a horticulturalist that’s really exciting,” Schroeder said. “It’ll be fun to see how people react to that. Some people find it fascinating, other people … not so much.”