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Corpse flower A big smelly beauty blooms in Zurich

 Corps flower from above
(Keystone / Ennio Leanza)

The corpse flower is the largest flowering plant in the world. At the University of Zurich’s botanical garden, people are lining up to see – and smell – its rare but stinky bloom.

Originally from Sumatra, the corpse flower can grow to a height of three metres. With its strong scent of carrion, the blooming plant attracts beetles for pollination in its natural jungle environment. 

"It stinks of rotting flesh," says Peter Enz, head of the botanical gardenexternal link. "But I'm absolutely delighted when I see beaming faces and people wrinkling their noses. It's great!"

The bloom peaked on Friday afternoon and is gradually losing its smell. “But you can certainly still see it this weekend,” Enz said.

Woman smells at the corps flower
(Keystone / Ennio Leanza)

There are only a few such flowers capable of blooming in the world. Corpse flowers grow from an underground tuber and can flower only if the tuber weighs more than 25 kilograms.

In Switzerland, a corpse flower bloomed most recently in 2014 in the Botanical Garden of the University of Basel, attracting thousands of visitors.

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