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Rare Giant Corpse Flower Blooms in Texas, What Makes It Smell Like Rotting Cadavers?

May 19, 2016 04:53 AM EDT
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Kew Gardens Titan Arum, AKA The Big Stink, In Rare Full Bloom
Kew Garden's Titan Arum, also know as The Big Stink can weigh up to 70kg and is housed in the Prince of Wales Conservatory.
(Photo : Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Visitors at the Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid in Texas had the chance to see the Giant Corpse Flower, scientifically known as Amorphophallus titanum, which translates to "misshapen giant penis" bloom for the fifth time.

Named as Morticia, the extraordinary flower native in Sumatra, Indonesia first bloomed in cultivation in Moody Gardens in 2012. Officials were expecting Morticia to bloom Friday the 13th, but it was delayed for a day.

One of the world's largest and rarest flowering structures, the corpse flower is a plant that favors high heat and humidity.

It emits a pungent smell similar to rotting meat or, aptly, a decaying corpse.

Titan Arum Or 'Corpse Plant' Blooms At US Botanic Garden
(Photo : Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 22: Visitors to the U.S. Botanic Garden view the large rainforest plant known as Titan Arum, or 'corpse flower' July 22, 2013 in Washington, DC. The corpse flower native to Sumatra, Indonesia is known for its unpleasant aroma and usually blooms for only one or two days.

While it is despicable for human's sense of smell, it is attractive for beetles and other insects. As explained by Mo Fayyaz, the greenhouse and garden director at the University of Wisconsin's department of botany, its smell is appetizing for insects.

"It makes them think there's rotten meat somewhere to lay their eggs, and then that helps the corpse flower to get pollinated," he told National Geographic.

It's smell do not just come from a single molecule which is why the pungent smell varies - from rotting fish to terrible sock smell.

The corpse flower, which can reach more than 10 feet in height usually begins to wilt within 12 hours. But some blooms for 2 to 4 days.

As per 9 News, some plants may not bloom again for another seven to 10 years while others may bloom every two to three years.

Aside from Texas, London, Australia and Massachusetts also have these.

There are about 100 recorded cultivated corpse flowers around the world. They are at present considered as "vulnerable" plant species.

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