OMAHA — Plug your nose and grab your car keys, The Amazing Stinko is back.
A 6-foot-tall, putrid-smelling Sumatran flower is about to spread its stench around Lauritzen Gardens. When the flower bloomed in May 2017 — the first such bloom in Nebraska history — visitors swarmed to the botanical garden to catch a whiff.
Now, two years later, it’s about to bloom again.
Blooms are rare for the plant known formally as titan arum and informally as the corpse flower. Fewer than 300 blooms have been recorded worldwide since the late 1800s. This would be Nebraska’s second.
When it opens, the corpse flower is said to emit three smells: First, rotting fruit. Then, rotting flesh. Finally, fish.
It’s a stench that could clear a room. But it made the botanical garden a packed conservatory. In 2017, more than 7,500 people lined up to sniff The Amazing Stinko once word spread it had bloomed.
“We’re excited,” said Mia Jenkins, director of marketing for Lauritzen Gardens. “Last time (the anticipation) felt like panda watch from ‘Anchorman’ meets ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’ ”
The bloom is tricky to predict. In 2017, the flower bloomed during a wedding while the botanical garden was closed on a Saturday night. The remains of the stench lingered through Sunday, but visitors had just one day to bask in Stinko’s glory.
Based on the flower’s 2017 growth pattern, The Amazing Stinko could bloom on July 7 or 8, but Jenkins stressed the plant’s unpredictability.
During the 2017 bloom, the garden offered free admission so the public could witness the historic first bloom. That’s not the case this year. Visitors will have to pay admission.
Banners are being made to direct crowds to the main attraction.
Let the wait begin.