10,000 visit stinky flower

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Last updated 12:49 02/12/2013
SEAN WILLIS/Fairfax NZ

Hundreds lined up to see the Amorphophallus Titanum - known as the corpse flower - blooming at the Auckland Nursery greenhouse.

plant
LAWRENCE SMITH / Fairfax NZ
Vanessa Cocal-Smith, 13, of Northcote College in Auckland, gets up close with the Amorpophallus Titanum on Saturday.

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Up to 10,000 people have visited Auckland Domain for what was probably a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see, and smell, one of the world's rarest flowers.

The Auckland Domain Wintergarden's amorphophallus titanum - better known as the corpse flower because of its rotting flesh stench - began flowering on Saturday and was today in the last stages of blooming.

A council spokeswoman said yesterday the doors of the Wintergarden opened to a small queue at 6.30am and gates closed at 7.30pm, allowing the last visitors to see the plant at 9.15pm.

The plant was starting to wither today with the frill on the spathe (the burgundy outer part of the bloom) beginning to droop and the central part of the flower slowly collapsing.

David Millward, manager of Auckland City Parks Services, said yesterday it was the first time a corpse flower had bloomed in New Zealand.

The flower is the biggest in the world - a towering 2.5 metres. The bulb, or corm, weighs 55 kilograms, but Millward said they could get as heavy as Jonah Lomu in his playing prime: 120kg.

They are also notoriously fickle in flowering. The Wintergarden's plant is seven years old and this is the first time it has flowered, and Millward said it may never flower again.

The corpse flower grows in the wild only in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia, and is treasured by botanical experts worldwide.

Did you see and smell the corpse flower? What was it like?

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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