News Good News Flower lovers line up around the block to witness (and smell) the rare corpse flower

Flower lovers line up around the block to witness (and smell) the rare corpse flower

The rare corpse flower blooms for 48 hours only
The rare corpse flower only blooms for 48 hours – and it stinks. Photo: Getty
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It’s one of the rarest plants on Earth – and seeing it in bloom is even rarer.

Smelling it in bloom is rarer still.

But this week, residents of San Francisco got a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get up close and funky with a blooming corpse flower.

The beast of a plant takes seven to 10 years to flower for the first time (and then only flowers every five or so years after that).

Its bloom only lasts 48 hours.

Man smells a corpse flower
A brave man takes a close-up whiff during a blooming event in Florida in 2020. Photo: Getty

Almost grotesque-like, the flower gives off a rotting stench – hence the name.

But nonetheless, when they do bloom – usually in museums or carefully guarded observatories – people line up for hours just to catch a glimpse.

They’re not often allowed inside to catch a sniff.

Nursery owner Solomon Leyva had other plans.

A collector of rare flora, he had been documenting his corpse flower’s progress on Instagram and when it finally got ready to bloom, he decided to share it with his neighbourhood.

So he wheeled it out into a car park and let people drop by for a look.

“Everyone is commenting to me that the last time they’ve seen this was in San Francisco, and there was a barrier, and they had to wait for hours, and they weren’t allowed to get near it,” Mr Leyva told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I think everyone’s tripping out that they can walk up and wiggle it and smell it. A lot of fun for everybody.”

He estimated about 1200 people came to see it in the first few hours of it being on display.

“I grabbed my wagon, went down to my greenhouse, put it in with the help of a friend of mine, dragged it down here to this abandoned building and people just started showing up,” he said.

South Australia has one of the world’s leading corpse flower collections, at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

Its last bloom was in October 2018.

The plant is native to Sumatra, where there’s estimated to be as few as 1000 left in the wild.

Its stench is designed to attract dung beetles, which it uses to help the pollination and reproduction process.

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