26 Dec 2012

Corpse Flower finally blooms

1:37 pm on 26 December 2012

A Titan Arum (Corpse Flower) finally reached full bloom at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne on Christmas Day.

AAP reports it stinks, is 180cm tall and dies after 48 hours. But staff at the gardens are overwhelmed with joy.

"We're pretty excited," nursery coordinator David Robbins told AAP.

"I could smell it from outside the glasshouse this morning when I walked past - to me it was akin to a strong organic fertiliser, but others say it smells like blue cheese or rotten fish or meat."

It is the first Corpse Flower in Victoria and one of only a handful to have bloomed in Australia.

The flower began to grow on 10 December and finally reached its peak late on Christmas Day.

When in full bloom, tiny female flowers at the base of the central column omit a strong smell to attract insects.

AAP reports the Titan Arum tuber can remain dormant for one - three years and produce either one gigantic leaf up to six metres tall, or a flower that can grow to just over three metres tall.

Mr Robbins said he expects thousands of people to file past the flower on Boxing Day - before it starts to wilt and die.