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The Mütter Museum of The College of Philadelphia received a new addition this week, a fledgling Amorphophallus titanum (corpse flower), and the public are invited to help choose the name of this new "living exhibit" through an online poll.
These plants can grow to 10ft high, and take almost a decade to bloom for the first time. When they eventually do bloom, for mere hours, the flower's fragrance is like that of rotting flesh, in order to attract beetles for pollination. The Toronto Zoo's corpse flower, Pablo "Pe-ew" Caso, is currently in bloom for the next few hours, attracting worldwide attention and late night visitors who want to catch a short-lived, once-in-a-decade whiff.
The Mütter Museum's medicinal plant garden acquired its own baby corpse flower thanks to donations from visitors to the museum's store. Visitors were invited to suggest names, and the shortlist is now available for voting for the most popular name. Fans can vote online now at http://muttr.org/flowervote.
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia was founded in 1787 by a group of physicians including Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of our nation’s Declaration of Independence. It is not an academic organization, as the name suggests, but a not-for-profit educational and cultural institution, with the mission of advancing the cause of health while upholding the ideals and heritage of medicine.
The College is home to the Mütter Museum, America’s finest museum of medical history, which displays collections of anatomical specimens, models and medical instruments in a nineteenth-century setting.
During his tenure, Rush urged College Fellows to maintain a medicinal garden as a natural and cooperative way to replenish their medicine chests. The College finally took his advice in 1937 when it celebrated its 150th anniversary. The current garden is named in honor of Dr. Rush. It contains more than sixty different kinds of herbs that have historical and sometimes contemporary medicinal value.
The Mütter Museum helps the public appreciate the mysteries and beauty of the human body while understanding the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.