Most college campuses try to give their students a wide variety of once in a lifetime experiences, but one campus in southern California is putting on an event that will really stink. Students at Orange Coast College, and anyone else in the area, will have a chance to experience an event that does not occur very often, the bloom of a rare tropical flower from Indonesia, known as the Corpse Flower.
The Corpse Flower, names aptly for its strong pungent aroma that closely resembles the stench of human decomposition, hails from Sumatra. The college has been growing the rare flowers, hand pollinating them, for many years. The flower grows up to five feet tall, and can take a full ten years to bloom for the first time. As the plant matures and gets closer and closer to its first bloom, the strong smell grows exponentially until it reaches a point that can be almost overpowering. After the initial bloom, it can take between three and five years for subsequent blooms to occur. Each bloom only lasts for 24-48 hours, but those who have seen the flower in all of its glory say that it is well worth the wait, and the stink.
The bloom of the Corpse flower offers large magenta colored petals that quickly fall down the flower stalk to form a skirt at the base of the tall fleshy spire that rises from the middle. The bloom has been often described as resembling a lady dancing with her skirts swirling. It is an experience that is truly to be had to be appreciated. In 2014 when the last blooming Corpse Flower the college had on display, Little John, was shown more than 1000 people came to see the event.
This year the college, one of the largest community colleges in California, is expecting the 164-acre campus to welcome many more visitors to see the flower open. The college as founded in 1947 and offers more than 135 programs in both the academic and career development arenas. Almost half of the student body, which can consist of an enrollment of over 25,000 per semester, are enrolled in hands on career development courses such as the award winning horticultural program.
The school is proud of its high conversion rate of students who transfer to campuses of the University of California and California State University systems. There is also a higher than normal percentage of students who transfer to private colleges all over the country after some time at Orange Coast College, compared to other community colleges in the state. The school is also proud of the fact that it offers one of the few maritime career programs around.
The flower is expected to bloom on June 28, and everyone is invited to come attend this remarkable event. The Corpse Flower is endangered in its native habitat and the work that is being done at OCC is helping to prevent its extinction. Attendance is free and open to everyone, but visitors are encouraged to offer a $3 donation to the school’s horticultural program to help support its valuable work. The festivities start at 10 a.m. and will go until 6 p.m., but once the flower has bloomed visitors will be able to stay and enjoy its beauty until 10 p.m.
Those who would like to know more about the school or the event can check out the school’s website at www.orangecoastcollege.edu.
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