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Endangered corpse flower blooms in Warsaw

Hundreds, if not thousands, lined up to pass by the flower and take a picture.

The endangered Sumatran Titan arum, a giant foul-smelling blossom also known as the corpse flower, has gone into a rare, short bloom at a botanical garden in Warsaw.

The extraordinary flower, which emits a dead body odour to attract pollinating insects that feed on flesh, bloomed on Sunday. It was already withering early on Monday. Those wishing to avoid the smell and crowds could watch it on live video from the Warsaw University Botanical Gardens.

The plant is nicknamed the corpse flower
The plant is nicknamed the corpse flower (AP/Monika Scislowska)

Hundreds, if not thousands, lined up long into the night on Sunday and Monday morning at the conservatory just to be able to pass by the flower and take a picture.

Know also as the Amorphophallus titanum, the flowering plant has the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, which can be up to 3 metres high. Its compound flower is composed of a hollow, tall spadix with small flowers and a spathe, with one big, furrowed petal that is green on the outside and deep burgundy red on the inside. Its blooming is rare and unpredictable.

The plant only grows in the wild in the rainforests of Sumatra, but it is endangered there due to deforestation. Cultivation at botanical gardens, where they are a great visitor attraction, has helped its preservation. Its first known blooming outside Sumatra was in 1889 at London’s Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.

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