Rare corpse flower has been carefully nurtured by horticulturists for nearly a decade
Large crowds are gathering at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) today to watch the long-awaited blooming of a rare flower, known for its deathly stench.
The so-called corpse flower, or Amorphophallus titanium, to give it its official name, is unfurling after almost 10 years of careful tending and feeding.
The NYBG sent out an alert yesterday to announce it had finally begun to open up, prompting thousands of plant enthusiasts to visit a live webcam feed on its website.
The flower, one of the largest in the world, will be in full bloom for up to 36 hours before withering.
Its smell, which is likened to rotting flesh, attracts pollinators that feed on dead animals.
The odour will be at its most pungent during peak blooming, according to Marc Hachadourian, manager of the NYBG’s Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections.
“From 10 feet away, you can smell it distinctly,” he told Newstalk’s Moncrieff programme.
“Even the gallery that displays it is filled with the fragrance. You can smell it when you walk in the door.”
The fragrance comes in waves, he added: “You won’t smell much one minute and a few minutes later you’re grabbing your nose and stepping away.
“As the flower ages, it diminishes. Towards the end of its bloom cycle, there’s almost no odour at all.”
Mr Hachadourian explained: “It’s all to attract a pollinator. It’s pollinated by things that like terrible smells - flies and beetles - that feed on rotting flesh."
This is the first time a corpse flower has been put on display at the NYBG since 1939, and over 100 people queued to catch a glimpse of the rare phenomenon before the garden opened this morning.
At one point overnight, over 6,000 people were tuned in to watch its progress on the NYBG's 24-hour webcam, according to Mr Hachadourian.
The flower, which can reach up to eight feet in cultivation, has been carefully nurtured by horticulturists in the Nolen Greenhouses for over nine years.
Once the current cycle is finished, it will be several more years to bloom again.
Listen to the full interview here: