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Rare Titan Arum Flower Blooms in Brazil

Dec 30, 2012 06:12 AM EST
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A rare titan arum flower, also known as the "corpse flower," has bloomed for the second time since 2010 in a botanical garden in Southern Brazil.

Titan arum is one of the largest and smelliest tropical flowers in the world. The flower has a distinct pungent smell of rotting flesh, showing signs of being ready to pollinate.

The flower is scientifically called Amorphophallus titanium which means "misshapen giant phallus."

The body temperature of the flower will be similar to that of humans when it blooms. This helps in spreading the odor, which can easily be sensed at a distance of about half a mile away. The pungent smell attracts pollinators like flies and bees, reports Agence France-Presse news agency.

The flower can grow massively up to a height of about 10 feet and is native to the Sumatran rainforests in Indonesia. It was first discovered by Italian scientist and explorer Odoardo Beccari in 1878. The first bloom happened in a London botanical garden 10 years after its first description.

The flower, which has a lifespan of just two to three days, began blooming on Christmas Day in Brazil. It has grown to a height of around five feet, three inches, and has been put on display at the Inhotim Art Institute and Botanical Garden in Belo Horizonte. Several visitors gathered at the botanical garden to get a glimpse of the rare flower.

In a similar event, another titan arum flower bloomed at the Melbourne Botanic Gardens in Australia on Christmas Eve, after taking seven full years to grow.

"It's great for the public to have this opportunity to see just how amazing this plant is and gain an appreciation of nature and the work being done by botanic gardens around the world in conserving plants that are at risk in the wild," Melbourne Gardens director Chris Cole told The Age.

Titan arum is an endangered species, as most of their natural habitat in native Indonesia is destroyed by deforestation.

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