The Biggest, Stinkiest Flower

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

The Biggest, Stinkiest Flower

June 10, 2016

Most flowers stand on cute little stalks, or cover bushes and trees with tiny blossoms. But some flowers are really huge, and as our fans Jane and Rita R. just shared, the biggest of them all is blooming right now. The “corpse flower” grows to more than 5 feet tall, from a root that can weigh up to 150 pounds. The catch is, it blooms only once every few years, and stays open for only 12 to 48 hours at most. So bugs have very little time to pick up pollen to spread to other plants. So the flower puts out a really bad smell — well, it smells great to bugs, but really yucky to people. The smell makes bugs want to visit. The corpse flower also has red coloring inside, and can warm itself up to 100 degrees so flies will think it’s red meat! Romero, a corpse flower in Pittsburgh, just opened its petals this week, and has reached 65 inches tall. But soon it will fold up, and we’ll have to wait for years to see it bloom again.

Wee ones: This flower last bloomed 3 years ago! Were you alive then?

Little kids: If the flower last bloomed 3 years ago, what year was that? (Right now we’re in 2016.)  Bonus: If it blooms again in 2020, will that be a longer or shorter stretch of time with no bloom?

Big kids: How much taller or shorter than you is this 65-inch-tall flower? Find your height in inches!  Bonus: If the flower stays open a whole 48 hours, how many days is that?




Wee ones: Different for everyone…if you are at least 3 years old as of June 8, 2016, then you were!

Little kids: In 2013.  Bonus: A longer stretch, since that will be 4 years.

Big kids: Different for everyone…subtract your height in inches from 65, or subtract 65 from your height.  Bonus: Exactly 2 days — not very long!

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking while still in diapers, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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