THE WORLD’S smelliest plant will flower for only the second time in Edinburgh this week.
The giant Amorphophallus titanum (titan arum) is known as the “corpse flower” because of the reek of rotting flesh it emits in full bloom to attract pollinators.
The rare specimen has been growing at a rate of 10cm per day in a tropical glasshouse at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and now stands at two metres tall.
Experts calculate it will burst in to flower some time between today and Sunday. The initial bloom is expected to occur at night, and give off the strongest smell when it first opens.
RBGE officials plan to open the attraction late to let hundreds of people experience the stench at its worst before it subsides.
Scientists will also take the opportunity to find out more about the enigmatic plant, two years after the first and only previous occasion it flowered.
Dr Peter Wilkie, RBGE’s tropical forest botanist, said: “The last time the Amorphophallus titanum flowered we studied its morphology and structure, this time we want to better understand its biology. The aim is to investigate how it produces its famous smell, what pollinators are attracted to the smell and what animals might disperse its seeds. For such an iconic plant there is so much we don’t yet know.”