Trauta Helsel, of Monett, is the owner of an unusual plant that recently bloomed for the first time in six years. The plant is an Amorphophallus Titanum or Titan Arum. It can reach more than six feet tall when it blooms, opening to a diameter of three to four feet. The plant is most famous for its exceptionally foul odor, which has given it the nickname of Corpse Flower. Helsel plantsitted for a neighbor while she was in the hospital, and she received a bulb from her. She kept it for six years before it bloomed. The plant does not emit an odor until it blooms. Helsel's daughter, Carolin Hopkins, called the Missouri Extension office and was told that to their knowledge this was only the third known bloom in Missouri. A corpse plant in bloom is rare and when it does bloom it lasts only one or two days. The plant is native to the equatorial rain forests of Sumatra.
[Times Photo by Lisa Craft]