Flower makes stinky Christmas bloom

Last updated 12:39 26/12/2012
corpse flower
STINKING BLOOM: Melbourne has a Corpse Flower (like this one pictured in the UK) in full bloom for Christmas.

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It stinks like a rotting body, is six feet tall and dies after just two days.

It sounds revolting, but it has staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne overwhelmed with joy.

The Titan Arum - or Corpse Flower - finally reached full bloom on Christmas Day, but horticulture fans must hurry to witness the highly anticipated sensory delight, as it's expected to last just 48 hours.

"We're pretty excited," Nursery coordinator David Robbins said.

"I could smell it from outside the glasshouse this morning when I walked past - to me it was akin to a strong organic fertiliser, but others say it smells like blue cheese or rotten fish or meat."

It is the first Corpse Flower in Victoria and just one of a handful to have bloomed in Australia.

The flower began to grow on December 10 and it finally reached its peak late on Christmas Day at a lofty 180cm.

When in full bloom, the tiny female flowers at the base of the central column omit a strong smell to attract insects.

The Titan Arum tuber can remain dormant for 1-3 years and produce either one gigantic leaf up to 6m tall, or a flower that can grow to just over 3m tall.

Robbins said he expects thousands of people to file past the flower on Boxing Day, before it starts to wilt and die.

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