Daily Archives: October 11, 2013

Please, Don’t Smell the Cactus


A couple of weeks ago, I was in a local nursery/greenhouse and spotted an interesting plant. Always looking for something different, I purchased it. Before I tell you more about it, here’s how it looked when I brought it home.

cactus1 10-7-2013 2-26-57 PM

Now, the owner of the greenhouse explained that this is a “carrion cactus”. And the reason it’s called that is because the blooms smell like…..road kill, decaying flesh…you get the idea. She also said that the blooms attract flies. And I said to the owner: “And I’m supposed to keep this plant IN my house?”.

There were two of these plants at the nursery. The one I didn’t purchase actually had an open flower at that time (which I declined to sniff). But this one had more buds. Yesterday, I noticed that mine now has a bloom.

carrion bloom 10-10-2013 2-19-43 PM

Just for size reference, I placed a “red Solo cup” beside the plant.

red solo cup 10-10-2013 2-20-17 PM

Let me just say that this plant is NOT, and has not been, in our home. I’ve been keeping it in the garage.  And I did some olfactory research prior to writing this post. I did, in fact, take a sniff of that bloom. A very quick sniff.

My first thought was that it smells like dead fish. But, then I remembered passing by road kill on a hot summer’s day….and, well, once again, you get the idea.

There’s a reason it’s called carrion cactus.

I’m adding a little PS update to this post after so many readers have questioned my decision in buying this plant.  The owner of the greenhouse assured me that the smell isn’t all that bad. And it isn’t – unless you specifically “stick your nose” within an inch or two of the bloom, you don’t even notice it.  And I haven’t seen any flies around the plant. Nevertheless, I’m still not planning to bring it in the house… Thanks for your comments!