字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 The United States Botanic Garden is a verdant sanctuary for congressional staffers playing hookey and for plants of every variety pleasantly fragrant ... ... brightly colored ... ... just ... weird. But arguably the garden's biggest star is the Amorphophallus titanum also known as the corpse flower. It smells disgusting - like rotting flesh. And when my editor heard that it was about to bloom for the first time in years she came to me with a question ♫ What in the world? ♫ ♫ When? Why? Where? ♫ ♫ Who's got the answers? ♫ Why would a flower smell disgusting? That's a good question! ♫ GOOD QUESTION ♫ If you want to imagine how bad the corpse flower smells, consider the notes of its putrid perfume It starts, like many flowers, with the sweet odor of benzyl alcohol But then there's trimethylamine isovaleric acid and lots of dimethyl trisulfide Gross! I joined hordes of people of people who have flocked to the garden to get a whiff But the corpse flower won't start stinking until it opens - maybe in a few hours, maybe in a few days It's in no rush - its been preparing for this moment for six years Most of the time, it looks like an unremarkable tree But underground, this potato thing - the corm - is stockpiling energy for the big stink Year after year after year, the leaf sprouts and dies back and the corm grows bigger and bigger until its ready to put out a strange new structure and then comes the moment we've all been waiting for "So how would you describe this scent that we're experiencing right now?" "It's sort of like an olfactory Rorschach test" "I think it smells like dead rodents" "A really nasty garbage can that I haven't hosed out for a while" "Or like funky, rotting cabbage or something" That big column in the middle actually heats up like a Glade plug-in to help that odor get into the air "It already lives in steam, so it has to make just a bit more to get it up and out there" So back to the question: why would a flower spend so much energy to smell this bad? "It wants to be pollinated just like all other flowers" It all comes back to the birds and the bees! Some flowers seduce pollinators with sticky sweet nectar. But a lot of insects just aren't into that - they like rotting meat and they're the pollinators the corpse flower is trying to attract with fleshy colors and putrid aromas. It's big fly trap. "You see the collar, that spathe? It's rather slippery and waxy" "but that smell is just too enticing and my gosh the heat - a warm stinky steamy place to go" "They investigate." "They drop down into the lower parts of the bucket..." This is where the plant's actual flowers are -- rows and rows of them. But there's no carcasses to be found, so the insects make their getaway They crawl up that central column and along the way, old pollen rubs off and new pollen hitches a ride "Out they go! They smell the next party down the road and go to pollinate something." There's another creature that the corpseflower has tricked into spreading its pollen Because of its stinky charm, humans have helped it expand from it's native range in Sumatra to gardens and conservatories around the world. Got a question for us? Send it our way! And please subscribe to our channel - we'll answer new questions every other Tuesday.