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Rare flower that smells like rotting flesh attracts thousands of visitors

Titan Arum blooms for just 48 hours, once every few years.

January 09, 2023 / 01:41 PM IST
Titan Arum. (Image credit: Adelaide Botanic Garden)

Titan Arum. (Image credit: Adelaide Botanic Garden)

There is an unusually smelly presence at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens in Australia but instead of driving people away, it is attracting them in hordes.

Thousands of people have been flocking to the gardens to get a glimpse, and whiff, of corpse flower Titan Arum, The Guardian reported. The flower blooms for just 48 hours, once in a couple of years.

It gives off a smell that has been compared to rotting flesh and pungent blue cheese. Sure, it may make some people gag, but the smell helps the flower attract insects for pollination.

The stench is mostly prominent in the first half of the titan arum's flowering. It can be detected from as far as five kilometres.

At present, the flower is halfway through its bloom. After it completes 48 hours, it will collapse.

Here is an old time-lapse video showing stages of its blooming:

Titan arum is an endangered plan that is indigenous to Indonesia's Sumatra island. The country gifted Australia three seeds in 2006, with which horticulturists were able to grow six adult Titan Arum Plants.

Then, in 2013, Australian experts started a propagation trial, in which leaf cuttings from established plants were used to grow more of the variety.

The trial was a success, with 100 Titan Arum plants being propagated in Australia using a host of leaf-cutting techniques.

Australian horticultural curator Matt Coulter said experts globally need to think of ways to conserve the endangered plant.

Titan Arum plants can grow over 2-metres-tall. Those grown using propagation techniques (second-generation plants), like the latest one, are smaller.

"Now that we've got the stage where these 'second-generation' plants - which we've cultivated from leaf cuttings - are flowering we're expecting to be able to have a large number of plants flower in the coming years," Coulter said.
first published: Jan 9, 2023 01:31 pm