Giant, Smelly 'Corpse Flower' Blooms in Brazil

Titan arum blooms rarely and only briefly—and smells like rotting flesh

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 28, 2012 11:40 AM CST

(Newser) – Call them gangrene thumbs. Hundreds of flower lovers are flocking to Inhotim garden, 275 miles from Rio de Janeiro, to catch a glimpse—and a whiff— of the massive and rare titan arum, aka, the "corpse flower," reports AFP. Blooming for just three days, the corpse flower smells like rotting flesh, in order to attract its choice pollinators, carrion flies and beetles.

The titan arum's full scientific name, Amorphophallus titanum, actually means misshapen giant penis. The one blooming now in Brazil is 5-foot-3, but the plant can grow up to 10 feet tall. The species is native to western Sumatra and is thought to be the world's largest and smelliest tropical flower. You can also read about a corpse flower that bloomed at Western Illinois University a couple of years ago.

Visitors look at a blooming titan arum at Djuanda Botanical Garden in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Another is now blooming Brazil.
Visitors look at a blooming titan arum at Djuanda Botanical Garden in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Another is now blooming Brazil.   (AP Photo/Kusumadireza)
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