Science & Technology

Smelly arum flower draws crowds to Ghent greenhouse

Ghent, Belgium, Jul 2 (EFE).- Over 1,000 people have flocked to the botanical gardens in Belgium’s Ghent to admire the giant arum, a plant that during its rare flowering gives off a fetid odor that earned it the name ‘corpse plant.’

The giant arum takes at least 10 years to flower for the first time and it does not bloom again for about three years.

“Our first flower was in 2015, after 10 years breeding on it. And three years later, we had a second flower on the same plant,” gardener Herbert Evrard, in charge of the arums collection, tells Efe.

“So, we have many possibilities because we have 10 plants of the same species,” he says.

Evrard says that the giant arum flowering draws more visitors to the greenhouse.

“Most of the people come for the smell of the plants. But normally they say we thought it is worse than that,” he says, adding that its odor attracts bees to encourage pollination.

Besides the smell, the giant arum flower is known for its size, measuring up to 2.5 meters, and its irregular and elongated phallic shape.

In its natural tropical habitat, the giant arum is threatened by forest destruction and the creation of oil plantations in its area of origin, the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Evrard adds: “Some of the native people were afraid of this plant, some destroyed it because the smell was like a dead body and they thought it was a plant of the devil.”EFE


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