Rare Flower That Smells Like Death Draws Crowds Brave Enough To Take A Whiff

Crowds are flocking to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens to catch a glimpse and a sniff of the rare titan arum, or aptly nicknamed 'corpse flower', as it blooms into all its smelly glory.

If we could gather data on nose peg sales, we assume there would be a spike 'round about now.

Blooming for only 48 hours every two to three years, the rare Sumatran plant releases a foul odour which is commonly likened to the smell of rotting flesh or dead animals

Which is actually completely intentional.

"The reason it actually smells is to get cross pollination," Matt Coulter, a propagator at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, told reporters on Friday.

"There's male and female flowers inside this plant and it can't pollinate itself, so to actually get pollen from a different flower it smells like a dead animal to bring insects that would lay their eggs on rotten flesh."

While it's designed to attract insects, the plant's unique stench has also managed to attract locals and visitors, with more than 5,000 people expected to pay a visit over the weekend.

Matt Coulter, curator of Plant Propagation, with the blooming corpse plant. Image: AAP

Visitors so far have compared the odour to "sewerage", "dead people" and "dead sheep".

The plant began blooming on Thursday night. It's a sight and smell which to experience in the wild you would typically have to trek deep into rain forests, Coulter said.

This is the first time this particular plant has bloomed in 12 years, and the fourth titan arum to bloom at the Botanic Gardens.

"Over the last ten years, we have been working hard to develop techniques to successfully grow and propagate the rare titan arum," Coulter said.

Adelaide and Springfield have found something in common. Image: The Simpsons

So while classified as a vulnerable species-- by all accounts a rare sight-- visitors hoping to witness the event again are likely to be in luck.

Now with six mature plants and over 100 seedlings-- one of the biggest collections in the world-- the Botanic Gardens hopes to see a plant in bloom every year.

Featured image: AAP

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