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Morty breaks attendance records at Botanical Gardens

Ashley Hirtzel

A record number of visitors flocked to the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens this weekend for the blossoming of the "corpse flower" Morty.

The flower, which emits a rotting flesh odor, helped shatter previously-set attendance records. On Friday, 2,257 people visited the rare plant. But that record was quickly broken on Saturday with 2,660 patrons in attendance.

The flower developed a large Twitter and Facebook following prior to its opening, which helped contribute to the record-breaking attendance figures.

President and CEO Dave Swarts says between Friday and Sunday, the flower attracted more than 6,000 visitors, in all.

“Morty provided us with all sorts of benefits. The unique characteristics of this flower and of course brining in people from all across western New York and beyond. We had people come in as far away as Kansas City, Missouri who came to see Morty, that was kind of neat,” said Swarts.

Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO
Morty before it blossomed.

Swarts says he believes Morty helped showcase all of the unique exhibits at the Botanical Gardens.

“It put us on the map for a lot of people who haven’t been here in a long time. They were able to see this unique flower and I think at the same time begin to appreciate and understand how important it is for the Botanical Gardens to survive in this community,” said Swarts.

The Corpse Flower only blooms every 6 to 10 years for 24 to 48 hours.  Morty is currently in the beginning stages of decomposition. Swarts says he is thankful to Morty and all he/she has done for the Botanical Gardens.