Flowers of endangered corpses bloom in Warsaw, drawing crowds

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Sumatran Titan’s arum, a giant smelly flower, also known as the endangered corpse flower, has turned into a rare, short bloom in a botanical garden in Warsaw, drawing crowds who waited hours to see it.

The extraordinary flower, which gives off a cadaverous odor to attract pollinating insects that feed on flesh, bloomed on Sunday. It was already withering early Monday. Those who wish to avoid the smell and the crowds can watch it live from the Botanical Gardens of the University of Warsaw.

Hundreds, if not thousands, lined up late into the night on Sunday and Monday morning at the conservatory just so they could walk past the flower and take a picture.

Also known as Amorphophallus titanum, the flowering plant has the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, growing up to 3 meters (10 feet) tall. Its compound flower consists of a tall, hollow spadix with small flowers and a spathe, with a large furrowed petal green on the outside and deep burgundy red on the inside. Its flowering is rare and unpredictable.

The plant only grows wild in the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, but is threatened there due to deforestation. Culture in the botanical gardens, where they are a great attraction for visitors, has contributed to its preservation. Its first known flowering outside Sumatra was in 1889 in the Royal Botanic Gardens of London in Kew.

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