Main Narrative » Fancy Foliage

Fetid Flowers

By Nicole Tarnowsky

Apr 22 2019

With names like Stinking Benjamin, Corpse Flower, and Skunk Cabbage; these flowers don't bring to mind the lovely scents usually associated with flowers. That's because these flowers are pollinated by flies and beetles that normally lay their eggs in carrion—and they smell accordingly. Stinky and often a mottled dark red color similar to a rotting animal, the flowers trick the female insects into visiting. Instead of leaving their eggs in a nice spot to hatch and have something to eat, the flies just get pollen all over them. They then move on and transfer that pollen to the next flower.

Flowering plants aren't the only ones to do this, there are also fungi and mosses that are fetid. They mimic carrion and dung to trick insects into dispersing their spores.