Now in Bloom at Phipps: Barbara the Corpse Flower

By Amanda Cooney

One of Pittsburgh’s most revered institutions, Phipps Conservatory, has recently announced that one of their corpse flowers, Barbara, has bloomed. The corpse flower is the world’s largest unbranched flower cluster that is naturally found in Sumatra, Indonesia. The corpse flower gets its name from the pungent odor that it produces which is said to resemble that of rotting flesh. These flowers bloom once every 3-7 years and once they do, it lasts for only about 12-48 hours. Once it has bloomed, the flower will fall and rot. Months later a leaf will appear in its place.


Barbara is the “little sister” of Romero, a corpse flower named after filmmaker George A. Romero that bloomed in 2013. She was acquired from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 and named after the main character in Romero’s film Night of the Living Dead. Corpse flowers are said to grow between 2.5 to 6 inches per day. Once their growth starts to slow, it means it will bloom not long after. Phipps reported on Wednesday that they could see a little bit of the crimson underneath Barbara’s collar, or spathe. Friday morning, they had announced that she had bloomed.


Barbara will be on display during regular hours this weekend; 9:30 am – 5:00 pm. Because the corpse flower is such a rare plant and it blooms so infrequently for a short period of time, to witness its bloom is a really special treat. Be sure to visit Barbara this weekend and stay to see SUPER. NATURAL. Glass Art by Jason Gamrath.


Follow Barbara on Twitter @RomeroAtPhipps and on Instagram @PhippsConservatory. For more information including admission, directions, and a list of current exhibitions, visit