Looks can be deceiving: it may be beautiful, but this giant flower smells like rotting meat. The corpse flower (or amorphophallus titanum, if you want to get scientific) is the largest and smelliest in all of earthly flowerdom. Native to the Sumatran rainforest, many botanic gardens and private collectors cultivate the plant. However, it blooms infrequently, so getting a chance to take a whiff is rare. Which is why tourists in are lining up to see it during the three days it’s blooming at the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. The museum is even staying open late so more people can take in its fleshy aroma.
In case the picture doesn’t portray the plants awesomeness, here are some facts about this amazing flower:
- It has been known to reach up to 10 feet in height.
- Its meat-like smell’s function is to attract the carrion-eating beetles and flesh flies that pollinate it.
- Its leaf structure can reach up to 20 feet tall and 16 feet across.
- Its corm, or underground storage stem, typically weights around 110 pounds.
- It only flowers for a short period of time, usually three days.
- Its more popular name, titan arum, was invented by a BBC broadcaster who thought saying amorphophallus titanum (translation: giant misshapen phallus) would be inappropriate.