Giant 'Corpse Flower' Ready to Bloom

What stinks? The titan arum at Western Illinois University

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 28, 2010 4:16 PM CDT

(Newser) – A huge flower that recalls the age of the dinosaurs and stinks to the high heavens will bloom this week at Western Illinois University. The titum arum, one of only a small number of such plants blooming in cultivation, grew 4 inches in 24 hours in preparation. It's expected to reach a full height of 10 feet—though in the wild, specimens can get up to 20 feet tall, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

"When one of these plants bloomed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, more than 30,000 people viewed its splendor," said WIU's greenhouse gardener, without mentioning the accompanying odor of rotting meat. "It's extremely exciting that Western's greenhouse is housing the first generation of this flower grown in the US."

A young girl braves an up-close smell in Australia in 2008.
A young girl braves an up-close smell in Australia in 2008.   (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
A visitor takes a close look at a specimen in Belgium in 2008.
A visitor takes a close look at a specimen in Belgium in 2008.   (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)
A specimen in Charlotte, N.C., blooms in 2007.
A specimen in Charlotte, N.C., blooms in 2007.   (AP Photo/Observer, Gary O'brien)
People gather around a specimen in Sydney, Australia, in 2008.
People gather around a specimen in Sydney, Australia, in 2008.   (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
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A video of the flower.   (youtube.com)

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