Thousands Gather For Whiff of Rare Stinky Flower

'Corpse flower' set to bloom in DC any day now

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 15, 2013 5:41 PM CDT

(Newser) – In full bloom, the titan arum, also known as the "corpse flower," smells like a "very dead elephant," according to a gardener at the US Botanic Garden in DC. So why are so many people making a pilgrimage there to get a whiff? Probably because the flower blooming is a rare sight (and smell) to behold, reports the Washington Post. This 5-foot 7-inch specimen has been growing since 2005, and it's set to bloom any day now for the first time. And when it does, it will only last for 24 to 48 hours, the AP reports.

The exotic plant has proven to be a massive tourist attraction for the Botanic Garden. "It’s the Botanic Garden’s panda," says the gardener. The garden has had to extend its opening hours as flower fans pour in hoping to see the plant in action, the Post reports. Those who'd prefer to catch the bloom minus the pong can watch all the action via a live webstream.

A titan arum, in Connecticut.
A titan arum, in Connecticut.   (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
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