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October 10, 2013

Giant, stinky corpse flower set for rare bloom in Missouri

A rare flower is about to bloom at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, but those who get close enough for a look should prepare for a rather unflower-like smell.

A rare flower is about to bloom at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, but those who get close enough for a look should prepare for a rather unflower-like smell.

The tall and rare plant is commonly known as the titan arum, or “corpse flower.”

One whiff is all the explanation necessary. When another corpse flower bloomed earlier this year at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the university described the smell as “a cross between rotting flesh and Limburger cheese.”

Botanical Garden officials say few corpse flowers — the world’s largest flower — exist in cultivation, and those that do bloom only rarely and under just the right conditions. Spokeswoman Holly Berthold says fewer than 160 flowerings have been documented worldwide over the past 120 years.

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