Alice is now darling of visitors to Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe
Alice is now darling of visitors to Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe

Alice is the new darling of visitors to Glencoe's Chicago Botanic Gardens. Alice is a titan arum, a corpse flower, a rare plant that belongs to the rain forests of Sumatra Indonesia. Late Monday night, Alice started blooming. It is currently stinking up the Garden's Semitropical Greenhouse.

Horticulturist Tim Pollak said it has been a long night and that he went there around 3 in the morning. He mentioned that they noticed Alice was beginning to open at 11 during night.

Botanic Garden workers pollinated Alice on Tuesday morning with the help of pollen from a titan arum that bloomed in August in Denver and also from Spike.

Pollak said, "Everything is looking nice and healthy. The flower is opening up as we speak, so it still has little more time. Right now, it looks like wine glass or chalice, but as we approach this afternoon, it will be more open". There is a streaming video of Alice on the Botanic Garden website.

Following previous month's letdown with Spike, visitors and garden personnel were very happy to see and smell Alice's successful bloom.

Sophia Shaw, outgoing president and CEO of Chicago Botanic Garden, said they have got a little relief and that Alice has brought resolution to the 75,000 people who visited to see Spike.

Barbara Silverman of Winnetka said that she came to the garden 5 times to see Spike, and Guy Stapleton of Glencoe also said he came to Spike. None of them realized that the garden was so close to having one more corpse flower bloom.

Jeff Blumenthal and wife Janice said they came to the garden at the time of Spike's showing also. On Tuesday, all of them returned to see Alice.

"It smells like a nasty diaper," Levy said. "(I'm) thrilled because this is a unique experience. This is the next best thing to flying halfway around the world to see it in its natural habitat."

"It was much more low-key," Pollak says. "Part of it, obviously, we were a little gun shy in the sense of making sure we had a viable plant that was going to bloom."

"Oh, my gosh. It's very strong," Pollak says. "When I got here at 3, I came in through the loading docks, a good hundred yards away and behind multiple doors, and I could smell it. It's everything we expected: ammonia, mothballs, a dead animal, it's all there. All the great smells. It's fun watching people come through. They want to see it, but they also want to smell it."




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