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What Does It Mean That the Penis Flower Has Bloomed?

Much like actual penises, the phallic plant takes some coaxing to reach its full turgid state

It’s hard to imagine being excited about a 6-foot-tall, dick-shaped plant that stinks of rotting flesh, but despite sounding like an outtake from a phallic nightmare, botanists worldwide rejoiced late last month when a so-called “penis plant” bloomed in the Netherlands’ Hortus Botanical Leiden.

Known to die-hard plant stans as the amorphophallus decus-silvae, this behemoth took a grand total of six years to bloom. The fact that it flowered at all is a pretty big deal, as these dick-shaped treasures like it hot and sticky — i.e., they need humid environments to thrive, which is why they’re usually found in rainforest-dense areas like Java, Indonesia.

According to an official press release issued by the University of Leiden, it took the love, care and expertise of volunteer Rudmer Postma to coax the plant into its turgid bloom, which lasted for just two days. It’s a rather short erection, but a momentous one — it’s been more than two decades since one of these plants flowered at the Hortus Botanical Leiden (that’s quite a refractory period), and experts believe it’s only the third to flower in Europe since 1997.

Cock jokes aside, there’s plenty to love about these giant dick plants. First, the name: The “penis plant” moniker comes not just from the “phallus” in its name, but also the shape of the white, phallic spadix in the middle, which shoots up to heights of over six feet at the height of its bloom. For size reference, see the photo of an extremely enthusiastic woman propped atop a ladder taking her own botanical dick pic.

A volunteer at the university gardens also shared a TikTok video displaying the sheer magnitude of this cock-shaped marvel, noting that the back of the plant is “beautifully ribbed.” Fans sounded off in the comments. “OMG, you’re so lucky to be there,” wrote one. Another asked if it was ever used medicinally, to which the volunteer replied there’s a rumor the bulb (which grows beneath the ground) can be eaten to get guys horny. A week later, the plant was depressingly deflated.

Just like actual dicks, the plant gets pretty gross and cheesy in the heat, too. In the aforementioned TikTok, the volunteer describes it as a “smelly day” and said the odor gets way more pungent in the afternoon. Reddit corroborates the claims, too. “I had one of these bloom in my city’s atrium, and much like my penis, it stinks,” wrote one user. “It smells like rotting animals on a hot day covered in garbage and rotten socks.” For context, it’s a close relative of the corpse flower — named because of its odor, which resembles decaying flesh.

Naturally, Reddit had a field day. In a wildly popular post on the r/comedyheaven subreddit, users batted dick jokes back and forth, but there were some genuinely excited botany fans nestled in there, too. “These… plants are actually so cool,” a user opined. “I got to spend a month at a ‘corpse flower’ nursery through a zoo program and those things are the hardest to make happy, let alone bloom. But when they do, it’s like all that hard work really comes to fruition.” 

Alongside praise for the volunteer who made this miraculous erection happen, there was a sprinkling of cock puns. “You could say it’s CUMMING out of its bud,” one joked.

It’s great that the internet enjoyed this phallic phenomenon, as it takes decades for these plants to bloom again. Sadly, these girthy miracles cum as fast as they go.