The world's biggest and sinkiest flower has burst into flower at London's Kew gardens. The huge crimson-colored plant, known as Amorphophallus titanium, smells like a mixture of excrement and rotting flesh. It also has a distinctive look, with giant red petals bursting out of a tall, phallic-like stem.
The vast A. titanium is currently growing at a rate of four inches per day. Its foul smell has earned it the nickname "corpse flower" at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Nigel Taylor, head of horticulture there, says, "It does smell just like a dead carcass of an animal." Fortunately, the plant's smell is only emitted every few hours. It is given off to attract carrion flies, while the vivid colored petals attract bees.
The flower, also known as the titan arum, is the world's largest. A giant lily, it grows in the rainforests of Sumatra. It blooms very rarely. Gardeners have been carefully nurturing it for six years in the hope of coaxing it into its amazing and dramatic fertility ritual.
Two members of the horticultural team, Greg Redwood and Phil Griffiths, will attempt to fertilize the flower using pollen flown in from plants in the U.S. and Germany. The pollination will take place when the flower is at its most pungent.
Despite its awful odor, the massive bloom is expected to attract a large number of spectators. When it last flowered, the police were called in to control the crowds. Blooming time is only expected to last about three days. It will then begin to wilt and eventually its seed bag will burst to expose bright red berries.
"It's the largest we've ever seen here, bigger than the previous flower at Kew, which generated interest all around the world in the mid-1990s," says Taylor. 49,000 people came to view (and smell) the plant that time.
To see a photo of the world?s smelliest flower,click here.
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