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Giant 'corpse flower' blooms next to US Capitol

Sunday - 7/21/2013, 11:17pm  ET

This photo provided by the U.S. Botanic Garden shows Titan arum, a giant rainforest plant that has been dubbed the "corpse flower" for its terrible smell, as it starts blooming Sunday, July 21, 2013 at the U.S. Botanic Garden next to the Capitol in Washington D.C. Experts had been anticipating its bloom for more than a week. Garden officials expect "peak smell" to occur early Monday morning, and the flower to remain open for an estimated 24 to 48 hours. Then it will begin to collapse on itself. The last corpse flower to bloom at the U.S. Botanic Garden was in 2007. (AP Photo/U.S. Botanic Garden)

BRETT ZONGKER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The long wait is finally over for visitors who have been yearning for a whiff of a giant flower that smells oddly like rotting flesh.

The giant rainforest plant known as a "corpse flower" for its terrible smell began blooming Sunday afternoon at the U.S. Botanic Garden next to the Capitol. Experts had been anticipating its bloom for more than a week and have extended the garden's hours for visitors.

Garden officials expect the flower to hit "peak smell" early Monday, and remain open for one or two days.

The flower is officially known as the titan arum. It is native to the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia, and was discovered in 1878.

Scientists say the flower's odor attracts insects that are normally drawn to rotting flesh.


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