Giant 'corpse flower' that reeks of rotting flesh blooms in Edinburgh

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A huge flower that smells like rotting flesh when it blooms is causing a stink in Edinburgh.

Crowds of scent-seekers have headed to the city’s Royal Botanic Garden to catch a whiff of the rare spectacle – even though the plant reeks so strongly it has been nicknamed the “corpse flower”.

The amorphophallus titanum, or titan arum, came into bloom earlier this week for the second time in two years.

David Knott, curator of living collections at the RBGE, told the Scotsman: “It’s quite satisfying to see people being so interested in the plant.


Eu-reek-a: Staff at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden have tended to the plant for more than 10 years but it rarely blooms (Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

“It’s great for the team here in the garden, cultivating the plant for the last 10 or 12 years, for it to flower for the second time in two years.

“It’s one of these iconic plants. The last time we expected an increase of visitors but I think even we were slightly surprised at the level of public interest in the plant.”

The flower, native to the equatorial jungles of western Sumatra in Indonesia, gives off its putrid odour to attract pollinating insects drawn to the smell of rotting flesh.

But the scent only lasts for about 48 hours while it blooms. When the plant came into flower two years ago, it grew to a height above 2.5 metres.

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