World’s Worst-Smelling Flower Goes In Bloom

After 75 years of sparing the world from its stench, the world’s smelliest flower is once again in full bloom.  Unfurling its leaves and unleashing its full odor is this Titan Arum, which is currently on display at the University of Basel in Switzerland.

Nicknamed as the “Corpse Flower,” the plant seemed to simultaneously please and displease everyone in attendance with its pungent smell that has been likened to rotting flesh.  Ugh.  And yes, we can’t tell whether those botanists and plant enthusiasts in the photo are happy or unhappy, either.

The Titan Arum has the tallest unbranched shoot in the world (the one on display is  an impressive eight feet tall) and is indigenous to the Sumatra rainforests of Indonesia. Can you imagine holding Survivor in a camping area surrounded by these plants in full bloom?  Argh.  I doubt they’ll even have to vote anyone out.

Blooming, on average, once every decade, it has umbrella-sized petals that open to a diameter of up to 4 feet.  The offensive odor is detectable at up to half a mile away and gets its strongest during night time, as the flower seeks to attract pollinators like carrion beetles and flesh flies.

According to the source article, the Titan Arum is coveted by collectors and enthusiasts for its strange blooming patterns.  Seriously, though, other than the botany department in a college, who’d want to keep anything that smells like rotting flesh around?  Unless you’re training for survival during zombie infestation or something equally ominous, of course.

[via Daily Mail]