Paignton Zoo’s huge smelly flower, the titan arum, looks like it is going to open tonight.
Titan Arums (Amorphophallus titanum) have flowers that can be up to 3 metres high and 3 metres in circumference.
Giles Palmer, Curator of Plants and Gardens at Paignton Zoo, said: “There are about 100 collections in the world where you can see this plant – they can go for years between flowerings, so it’s not a common sight.”
The plant – from the rainforests of Sumatra and a member of the Arum family – is classed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. It has one of the largest flowers in the world; the bloom – correctly, an inflorescence – is green on the outside and bright red inside, with ribbed sides and a frilled edge. Due to its odour – said to be like rotting meat – it’s known as a carrion flower, and has been dubbed corpse flower or corpse plant. It emits the strong smell at night to attract pollinators.
For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk or ring 0844 474 2222.