Why are people flocking to see ‘Corpse flower’ which smells like rotten flesh

By: |
May 21, 2021 3:09 PM

The flower which has a scientific name Amorphophallus titanum blooms rarely once in every 7-10 years and is a site of attraction for botany enthusiasts and tourists.

It is pertinent to note that the strong pungent smell is not regularly emitted from the flower. (Credit: Peter Hartlaub/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

People flocking to gardens, parks and floral shops to catch a glimpse of beautiful and fragrant flowers is a common site but over a thousand people recently gathered at a little known spot in San Francisco to smell a flower that has arguably the most awful odour comparable to human corpse. Fittingly named ‘corpse flower’ the extremely rare flower attracted several tourists and visitors who wanted to behold the flower which blooms once in seven to ten years, the Indian Express reported.

What makes ‘corpse flower’ unique?
The flower which has a scientific name Amorphophallus titanum blooms rarely once in every 7-10 years and is a site of attraction for botany enthusiasts and tourists. Apart from its foul smell, the flower is also considered to be one of the world’s largest flowers and it can grow upto 10 feet in about a decade. An average Corpse flower lives upto 30-40 years and throughout its lifetime remains an object of attraction. The plant which is a native species of Indonesia’s Tropical forest in Sumatra is an endangered species and has been planted in different parts of the world in botanical gardens and other places.

It is pertinent to note that the strong pungent smell is not regularly emitted from the flower. The rotten flesh smell is emitted by the flower only when it is blooming which happens once in about a decade.

What have scientists found about its unique stench?
As per scientific research on the flower, the flower is understood to emit the bad odour in order to attract pollinating insects such as beetles and flies which can help it pollinate and reproduce. As per a research published in the Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry journal, the main chemical element in the flower which emits the corpse like smell is dimethyl trisulfide which is also found to be be present in microorganisms, few vegetables and cancerous wounds, the Indian Express reported.

Prevalence of corpse flower
In the year 2018, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) put the flower under the category of endangered species which means that the number of corpse flowers is reducing at a fast pace and is on the verge of becoming extinct. The tropical forests of Indonesia where the flower is naturally found are facing the onslaught of deforestation. While several countries have tried to plant the flower in gardens, parks and botanical gardens, it is extremely difficult to provide apt conditions for the growth of the plant which include high humidity and heat. It also becomes a challenge to provide apt conditions for pollination and reproduction of the plant in countries which do not have a similar climate to that of Tropical forests.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Asteroid bigger than Taj Mahal racing towards Earth today; here’s what NASA says
2Air pollution in Delhi: Ban on construction, demolition activities to continue till further orders, says Gopal Rai
3Delhi records minimum temperature of 10.3 deg C