Morphy The Corpse Flower: The Experience

By Joseph Regan | 9/28/16 10:46am

People used to ask me why I came to Dartmouth. I was always too nervous to tell them the truth, so I lied. I said everything but the one, the big — the biggest — reason. You see, Dartmouth has the biggest flower in the world. Let me say that again, of the God knows how many flowers in the world, Dartmouth. Has. The. Biggest. One. Its name is Morphy, and it is a corpse flower, scientific name , “giant”). In case you missed that, its scientific name literally means “giant misshapen phallus.” You can’t make this stuff up.

It’s on livestream, so if you don’t feel like walking over to the greenhouse and staring at it in all of its glory, just check it out here.

Here is what it was like for me to realize the goal of my life after visiting Morphy at the Dartmouth College Greenhouse.

Saturday September 24, 6:31 AM

Already awake, already psyched. My roommate seemed rather perturbed when he saw me bustling around the room this morning, already up only a glorious four hours after having gone to sleep. How was I supposed to go to sleep though? I’d asked him, and told him for hours, about Morphy! Maybe he fell asleep, or set his headphones back to playing music, I never really noticed. Ah but I digress. I’m walking, not to the greenhouse because it doesn’t open until 10 AM, but I’m walking to get some food.

9:52 AM

I’ve calculated how long it will take me to get from Collis to the Greenhouse, as well as how long to ascend to the floor Morphy resides on in all its glory, as about 6 minutes there and 2 minutes to climb the stairs. Here I go, first step out of Collis right now. I’m on my way!

10:00 AM


Courtesy of Emma Chiu, The Dartmouth Staff

The crowds are rather bad, I didn’t prepare for this. I’m stuck in a bit of a line. Apparently there are all these idiots, talking about how big Morphy is rather than how beautiful, how divine, how, anyway…these idiots are clogging the entrance and the stairs.

10:05 AM


Photo courtesy of Sean Hurley, New Hampshire Public Radio

Credit Sean Hurley

My God.

11:00 AM


Courtesy of Emma Chiu, The Dartmouth Staff

Oh my god.

12:00 PM

The full name of the plant is amorphophallus titanium, in common parlance called the Corpse Flower. But… MY GOD. I’m still not up to a description, check back in an hour.

1:00 PM

I’m sufficiently recovered now to attempt a, a, a recording of my, uh, experience. As I had approached closer to the room, I had started to hate my idiotic companions more and more. Not only had they ruined my perfectly planned day, one of them smelled absolutely disgusting. As we got closer to the flower I wondered two things: how had I not noticed how bad they smelled before, and, did they all smell this bad? The smell was intensifying. I became convinced they were hiding dead fish under their jackets.

Then, we arrived at the room and I saw my beautiful Morphy and my life was complete, except that I still had a nose and a brain. As I approached the facts were too strong too miss. The closer I got the worse it got. Oh my god, it’s Morphy. Oh, I get the name now. I’d wondered why there wasn’t a tongue-in-cheek English name for it, and now I understood. It smelled like a rotting corpse. Not that I know what those smell like, I’m just dealing with the facts here.

2:00-8:00 PM

My poor nose needs a break from this world, and so do I. I couldn’t even smell the glorious General Tso’s at the Hop, I just walked right by. Time to go to bed. I somewhat look forward to being able to smell the communal bathroom tomorrow and go to bed.


Joseph Regan