The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Dec 28, 2012
 

World's smelliest and largest flower blooms in Brazil

 
 

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Hundreds of visitors are flocking daily to a botanical garden in southeastern Brazil to watch the rare blooming of the Titan arum, the world's smelliest and largest tropical flower.

Also known as the "corpse flower" because of a smell likened to rotting flesh, it began blooming on Christmas Day and is already beginning to close, botanist Patricia Oliveira told AFP.

The flower "has a lifespan of 72 hours, during which its stink and meat-coloration attract pollinators: carrion flies and beetles", added Ms Oliveira, who works at the Inhotim garden, about 445km from Rio de Janeiro, housing the massive flower.

Titan arum, also known by its scientific name, "Amorphophallus titanum", which means misshapen giant penis, is native to the rainforests of western Sumatra. It rarely flowers, is incredibly difficult to cultivate and takes six years to grow.