Foster Botanical Garden

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Phone (808) 522-7060
Address 180 N Vineyard Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817
A botanical garden located in downtown Honolulu.

• General: Cost: Paid • General: Educational • General: Has Gift Shop • General: Photo Opportunity • General: Restrooms
• Tours: Farm / Garden • Tours: Guided • Tours: Self Guided

Foster Botanical Garden is a 14 acre tropical oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle that is Honolulu on the island of O'ahu. It's also the oldest of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens.

They offer a huge variety of plants, flowers, and trees to stroll through on a self guided tour. Or, try one of their guided tours and you'll learn even more about this place.

Be sure to stop by their gift shop on the way out and take home a locally made souvenir. They're open daily except Christmas Day (December 25) and New Years Day (January 1).

Corpse Flower

This is also home to the unique and smelly Amorphophallus titanum, which is more commonly called the Corpse Flower. This species of plant produces the world's largest unbranched inflorescence (flower cluster). The flower, which is native to the Sumatran rainforest of Indonesia as well as the Philippines and other islands, can grow to over 10 feet tall when it blooms.

The flower doesn't bloom often and only lasts for a day or two so it's a pretty special event to see one in person. This explains why places that have one often get packed when they announce that their Corpse Flower is blooming. Add in what we call the "Hawaii Effect" (where masses of locals will turn out for virtually any event of any kind) and you can expect to wait in line to see this stinky creation.

As for the Corpse Flower name? That comes from the incredibly unique and surprisingly bad smell that the flower makes which, you guessed it, smells like a rotting dead animal corpse. This "fragrance" is sent out to attract flies and other pollinating insects. Even the flower's deep, red color and textures (which look like a piece of meat) add to the illusion.

Once the flower dies, a single leaf will grow from the underground corm and reach around 20 feet tall with a 15 foot canopy. The leaf dies every year and the process repeats. Only occasionally does a flower arise instead of a lead. The plant usually required 7 to 10 years of vegetative growth before it will bloom for the first time. Now you can see why it's such a special event when it does bloom.

Scientist have analyzed the chemicals released by the Corpse Flower and have found that chemicals like dimethyl trisulfide (found in limburger cheese), isovaleric acid (found in sweaty socks), and trimethylamine (found in rotting fish) are present. Indeed, it's a smelly flower that reminds us of a really smelly garbage can.