Rare 'corpse flower' blooms for the first time in 11 years

The flower is a 'titan arum'

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The Independent Online

A rare "corpse flower" which emits the smell of rotting flesh is expected to attract thousands of people after it bloomed for the first time in 11 years.

The titan arum flowered on Saturday afternoon at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

Lasting for just two days, the flower emits its smell – described as “rotten eggs” and a “dead donkey” – to attract pollinators.

Nearly 1,000 people queued up to catch a whiff of the smell in the first four hours after the flower bloomed, the BBC reports.

The 'Titan arum' flowers only once, for 48 hours, and smells of rotting meat, hence its common name of ‘corpse flower’ (PA)

Many more are expected, with the garden staying open until 10pm tonight to meet demand.

A live webcam which has been streaming footage of the foul-smelling plant crashed several times as enthusiasts logged in to view its progress over the last week.

The flower – full name Amorphophallus titanum – has taken its time to open and been nicknamed “Tiny Titan” as it is much smaller than other in its species.

It emits its smell mainly during the night by heating itself up to 40C.


Professor Beverley Glover, director of the garden, told the BBC: “The heat helps to distribute sulphurous compounds - the atrocious stench - across vast distances in its native Sumatra to lure its pollinators, thought to be carrion beetles and blowflies.

"The stink, which comes in pulses through the night, has been described as being like 'rotten eggs', 'dead donkey', 'dirty laundry' and 'smelly feet'.”