Smelliest Flower to Bloom in Edinburgh

What's New — By Christina Maria Paschyn on May 13, 2011 at 4:05 am

Get a whiff of this – the world’s smelliest flower is set to bloom for the first time ever in Scotland in just a few weeks. And Edinburgh has the honor of hosting the event.

The city’s Royal Botanic Gardens was gifted the giant Amorphophallus titanum, or Titan Arum, by the Netherlands in 2003. Now eight years later, a flower-shaped bud has emerged and staffers are eagerly anticipating the stinkiest blossoming in RBGE’s history.

The Titan Arum in full bloom

The plant, which is indigenous to Sumatra’s rainforests in Indonesia, is set to blossom in 28-46 days. It is known as the corpse flower because of the grotesque odor of – you guessed it – rotting flesh it emits to lure insects. The Gardens is currently in possession of the heaviest Titan Arum ever recorded – the corm of the plant weighs a whopping 153 kgs!

Steve Scott, a horticulturalist at RBGE, warns that once the plant blossoms, visitors to the Gardens won’t be able to avoid the insufferable stench.

“If you put the plant at the west end of Princes Street and you were at the Mound, you would be able to smell it – it is that strong,” he told BBC News.

A shot of the emerging bud from the Royal Botanic Gardens' special time lapse webcam

If the whole thing leaves you feeling queasy, don’t despair. You can watch the blossoming (or at least track its progress) via the Gardens’ plant webcam with a time lapse feed. Whatever you decide to do, just don’t miss this historic event – according to the BBC, there have been less than 140 blooms of the Titan Arum through artificial cultivation.

[All images courtesy of the Royal Botanic Gardens]

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