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Basel stinker soon to fade

A titan arum is an impressive sight. Keystone

Basel’s giant titan arum flower continued to attract visitors on Sunday, with about 500 visitors an hour passing through the hothouse to see the two-metre high bloom.

However, the sight will soon be over. On Sunday afternoon huge dark red petal-like structure surrounding the yellow flowering structure began to wilt.

The central structure itself is likely to collapse on Monday, the custodian of the botanical gardens, Heinz Schneider, told the Swiss News Agency.

On Saturday alone, more than 10,000 people came to see it. Adults paid SFr10 ($11.30) and were allowed to stay for two minutes before being shepherded out to make room for the next group.

The money raised should be enough to pay for the next two years of events at the garden, where entrance is normally free, Schneider said.

Schneider said that most of Sunday’s visitors had come from out of town.

“It’s crazy,” he told Swiss television. “Plant fans from all over Switzerland want to see the titan arum.”

Those who waited for the weekend did not have to contend with the stink of carrion produced by the flower in the first few hours of blooming.

In the first night the stench had been such that visitors had to hold their hands over their mouths. However, the garden’s shop has done a roaring trade in “titan arum perfume”.

The gardens will remain open on Monday, and the webcams will continue to show the plant even after that.

The last time a titan arum came into flower in Switzerland was in 1936.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR