World's smelliest flower, the corpse flower, blooms in Cambridge

Published Monday, Jul 20 2015, 18:00 BST  |  By  |  Add comment
The world's smelliest flower is blooming in Cambridge.

Thousands of people are expected to visit Cambridge University Botanic Garden to clap their eyes – and nose – on the rare titan arum, which is also known as the Corpse Flower.

But be quick, as the flower is only likely to stay in bloom two days!

While we usually associate flowers with gorgeous, subtle scents, this flower has gained notoriety for a dreadful stink that has been likened to rotten eggs, dead animal and smelly feet.

Um, gross

The flower loves hot temperatures so it's being housed in an environment of 18 degrees Celsius – although it's thought the centre of the flower can reach temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius when the flower is in bloom. That contributes to the horrific smell which is used to lure pollinators. Bleh.

The flower blooming is a special occurrence for the Botanic Garden as the plant has been dormant for nearly eight months. The titan arum is from the Indonesian island of Sumatra but is rare nowadays because of deforestation. It's been classified as vulnerable to extinction.

While this little guy looks pretty big to us, staff at the Botanic Garden have nicknamed him Tiny. Alex Summers, glasshouse supervisor, said: "We've dubbed this one 'Tiny' as according to the books it's too small to be flowering at all!

"Tiny's been keeping us on tenterhooks and we've been on high alert since the third and final bract that protects the flowering structure fell on Tuesday night. It's exciting that flowering is now finally underway after what feels like a titanic wait!"

As well as visiting Tiny in person, you can watch him on webcam here.

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