A unique and exotic tropical plant, acclaimed for its size and abhorred for its smell, is blooming at a Vancouver conservatory.
A news release from the Vancouver Park Board says the titan arum, the largest flower on earth, began to bloom Sunday evening.
Over the next 24 to 28 hours the plant, better known as the corpse flower because of its powerful stench, will release an aroma that has been described as similar to rotting flesh, discarded diapers or hot garbage.
The park board says the now nearly two-metre tall flower produces the smell and a deep-red flesh colour inside the open petal in order to attract pollinator insects like carrion beetles and flesh flies that feed on dead animals.
It takes the titan arum as long as 10 years to produce its single spike-like bloom wrapped by the funnel-like petal, and the spike of the rare flower even self-heats to approximately human body temperature while the petal unfurls, to better spread the putrid scent.
It’s the first time the plant, native to Sumatra, has bloomed in B.C. and “Uncle Fester,” as it has been dubbed, is on display at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park, with extended viewing hours starting at 7 a.m., so the curious, and the brave, can get a whiff.