A giant corpse flower has opened its less-than-delicate petals this week at the Huntingdon Library near Los Angeles, in an event that only comes once every few years.
The Amorphophallus titanum is also known as the “corpse flower” because of its signature pungent smell in bloom
The odour is designed to attract carrion flies for pollination by imitating the stench of a dead animal
The flower only stays open for 48 hours
And it is giving off a powerful reek.
“It smells of rotting flesh,” conservatory gardener Bryce Dunn said.
“It’s trying to attract carrion flies to come pollinate it, so the more it can get that smell out, the more flies it attracts, the better the plant does.”
The Amorphophallus titanum bloom, which stands as tall as a human being, is actually a collection of hundreds of little flowers, both male and female, opening at slightly different times, and has been preparing for its moment in the spotlight for around a month.
But like all the best floral treats — think of Japan’s famous, delicate and ephemeral cherry blossom, but stinky and smelling of dead things — you’ve got to be quick to catch it.
“Once the flower opens, it’s gone within 48 hours,” Dunn said.
“So it’s a very, very short-lived bloom, but it’s quite spectacular.”
Visitors on Monday flocked to see the corpse flower in all its pungent splendour.
“It’s such a rare event. I think I’m so lucky to get to see it,” Diana Doo told AFP.
But for Paul Rulmohr, the name did not quite seem accurate.
“I wouldn’t say that it was like a corpse,” he said.
“It’s more like an urban dumpster.
“But it’s good … if you’re into that .”