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World’s smelliest flowers set to bloom

india Updated: Apr 27, 2009 18:30 IST

ANI
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Visitors to the Kew Gardens in Britain are set to see the world’s smelliest flowers coming into bloom this week.

However, they have been warned to keep away as the flowers emit a smell of rotting flesh.

The Titan Arum, which is native to Indonesia, flowers just once every six or seven years, and during this time it lets out an odour so stomach-churning that it is colloquially known as “the corpse flower”, reports the Telegraph.

The garden’s Princess of Wales Conservatory houses 12 of the plants, which produce cream and pink flowers while in bloom, while the base of the stems releases the sickening odour for around three days when the Arums are ready to pollinate.

Conservatory co-ordinator Phil Griffiths has said that visitors should expect a ‘strong and pungent’ scent, which comes in waves and smells like something is dead and rotting.

The plants make the unpleasant smell to attract flesh-eating beetles who crawl into the flowers and become trapped, covering themselves in pollen in an effort to escape.

The flowers then wither allowing the insects out.

The largest Arums at the gardens weigh about 200lb (90kg) and can grow at a rate of quarter of an inch an hour. It takes four members of staff to repot the plants.

Sir David Attenborough invented the name Titan Arum after capturing its flowering on film for his BBC TV series The Private Life of Plants.