The Amorphophallus titanium is aptly called the "corpse flower" because of its foul smell many equate with that of a rotting flesh. The giant plant produces the nauseating odor so it can attract insects such as carrion-eating beetles and flies when it is in bloom.

The plant is native to the rainforests of western Sumatra in Indonesia but with the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE) nurturing it in a glasshouse for 12 years, those who live near the scientific center for plants now have the rare chance of getting a glimpse of the gigantic flower.

RBGE staff started to suspect that the plant was about to flower after many years of waiting when it grow up to nearly 9 feet tall.

The giant flower, which is characterized by deep red color and nauseating stink, started to bloom on Friday night prompting visitors to flock to RGBE to take a look at the extraordinary bloom.

People queue to see the plant but many ignore the line because the rarely seen spectacle will only last for a short time. The full bloom will only last within one to two days.

The plant has produced seven leaves since it has been in the care of the Garden but it never produced a flower until now.

Sadie Barber, the RGBE senior horticulturist who received the exotic flower from the Hortus Botanicus, Netherlands in 2003, expressed the excitement to finally have the flower after more than a decade of careful cultivation.

"At its peak in the glasshouse it actually made our eyes water," Barber said. "It really is one of the most extraordinary flowering plants we have ever seen, and great to think that something that grows naturally so far away can be enjoyed by visitors to the Garden here in Edinburgh."

Bringing the plant to the point of flowering was no easy task for the horticulture team. It involved replicating the conditions that the plant is supposed to experience in its natural habitat in the Sumatran rainforests.

It was made possible with the Gardens' Lowland Tropics House that provided the necessary high humidity and temperatures.

The titan arum was first collected by Odoardo Beccari, an Italian botanist who also scientifically described it for the first time in 1878. Although it is endemic in western Sumatra, the giant plant is also cultivated by private collectors and botanic gardens around the world. 

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.