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Rare, Smelly Corpse Flower About To Bloom

The U.S. Botanic Garden is expecting to have a very smelly week this week. Their Titan Arum, a flowering plant that rarely blooms, is set to unfurl any day now.

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A Titan Arum in Bloom Image Credit: Ingrid Taylar via Flickr

The U.S. Botanic Garden is expecting to have a very smelly week this week. Their Titan Arum, a flowering plant that rarely blooms, is set to unfurl any day now.

Botanists are excited because this is a rare event. Titan Arum plants only bloom occasionally, maybe once every few years, or even a few decades. When it does bloom, the plant emits heat and the stink of decaying flesh for 24 to 48 hours before dying.

The Titan Arum has one of the largest blooms in the world but is actually an inflorescence, or a group of flowers, not just a single large flower.

Watch the live stream here, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see it bloom. For people in the Washington, DC area, the U.S> Botanical Garden conservancy has extended their hours over the next few days for people hoping to catch a glimpse (or a whiff) of the Titan Arum.

If you just can’t wait, you can watch a time lapse of a blooming Titan Arum taken at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo:

And of course you can watch the incomparable David Attenborough expound on the topic:

More from Smithsonian.com:

Why Do Flowers Smell Good?
Plants Flower Nearly a Month Earlier Than They Did A Century Ago
Flowers Writ Large

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