Corpse Flower In Belgium Smells Like Decomposing Mammal, Draws Crowds [VIDEO]

By iScienceTimes Staff on July 10, 2013 3:32 PM EDT

corpse flower
A rare corpse flower has flowered in Belgium, and it smells like a decaying animal. (Photo: YouTube screenshot)

A rare corpse flower that has flowered in Belgium is drawing record crowds. The awful-smelling flower goes by the official name of titan arum, or Amorphophallus titanium -- or misshapen phallus.

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The corpse flower is located Belgium's National Botanic Garden, and has grown to 8 feet and weighs 200 pounds. In the middle of the flower's petals is a massive shoot rising skyward. This is what gives the corpse flower its horrible smell.

So what does the corpse flower smell like?

It's been descibed a number of ways, often along the lines of "a mammal decomposing." Some of the more colorful descriptions of the corpse flower's smell include "a dead body lying in Florida for two weeks." Or, as Bart Van de Vijver, a botanist at the National Botanic Garden, puts it, "like a dead rabbit that has been lying in the sun for two weeks and you open the box." 

The smell, which comes from sulfur compounds in the flower, is so bad that insects that feed on dead animals and flesh are attracted to it, which is the corpse flower's plan all along: the flies pollinate the flower. 

"It's the largest flower in the world," said Franck Hidvegi, a spokesman for the National Botanic Garden. "At their greatest, corpse flowers can grow to nearly [10 feet] tall." He added, "This really is an event that we are thrilled to share with the public today."

Since 2008, the corpse flower has flowered three times at the National Botanic Garden. The corpse flower only flowers for three days, so Belgian readers should hurry over to the National Botanic Garden.

The blooming of the corpse flower in Belgium is the most exciting botanical news in Europe since the appearance last month of a sheep-eating plant in England.

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