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Rare, Stinky 'Corpse Flower' Blooming in Belgium [VIDEO]

Jul 09, 2013 12:08 PM EDT
A Titan Arum, also known as the corpse flower, is seen in full bloom at the Eden Project in southwest England in this handout picture released by the Eden Project February 5, 2007.
The U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory in Washington D.C. just got stinky as the corpse flower bloomed on Sunday (NOT PICTURED)
(Photo : Reuters)

People in Brussels were lining up Monday to see a blooming "corpse flower," a bizarre flower that's as stinky as it is rare.

The foul smelling plants rarely ever blossom, though the corpse flower at National Botanic Garden of Belgium has done so three times in the last five years - which is itself a rarity.

Franck Hidvegi, a spokesman for the botanic garden said the plant, the scientific name of which is Amorphophallus titaniumis, is often referred to as a titan arum or "Titan's Phallus."

"It's the largest flower in the world," he said in a video interview with the AFP. At their greatest, corpse flowers can grow to nearly three meters (9.8 feet) tall. The specimen at the Brussels botanic garden measures 2.44 meters (8 feet), "which is quite exceptional," Hidvegi said.

"This really is an event that we are thrilled to share with the public today." To allow as many spectators as possible to see and smell the flower - the odor of which is said to resemble a decomposing animal - the botanic garden will stay open late for the second consecutive day. Corpse flowers only blossom for three days; the plant is expected to wane on Wednesday.

Corpse flowers are endemic to Indonesia's Sumatra Island, where the plant grows in rainforests, though is cultivated by botanic gardens around the world.

In May, a pair of corpse flowers at Ohio State University's greenhouse blossomed.

Anyone not in Belgium can see, but (perhaps thankfully) not smell the flower in the video below.

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