Can I Bring My Elephant Ears Inside?

Q: I have elephant ears that flower every year for me. I love their sweet smell. Can I bring them inside? I was told by a friend that they smell horrible once cut. 

A: You possibly have fragrant elephant ear, Alocasia odora. Like all aroids, including peace lily, anthurium, Jack-in-the-pulpit, caladium, etc, an elephant ear “flower“ (spathe and spadix) exudes a fragrance to attract flies, beetles, and other pollinators. Some aroids smell like dead meat, some like rotten butter. I have never grown fragrant elephant ear, so I do not know if the scent changes as the spathe and spadix mature. It would be simple to cut one, take it indoors, and let your nose determine what to do.

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