Giant, stinky ‘corpse flower’ blooms

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The 'Corpse Flower' comes to life, accompanied by a pungent smell. Photo: Georgia Dunstan-Brown
The 'Corpse Flower' comes to life, accompanied by a pungent smell. Photo: Georgia Dunstan-Brown

The Auckland Domain Wintergardens’ star attraction – a massive ‘corpse flower’ – has finally bloomed, and along with it a putrid smell.

The beautiful bloom Photo: Georgia Dunstan-Brown
The beautiful bloom. Photo: Georgia Dunstan-Brown

Domain staff have patiently waited for the moment the flower, officially named ‘Amorphophallus titanum’, to bloom after it started showing signs of flowering over two weeks ago.

The flower is the only one in New Zealand, and has been growing at the Wintergardens for the past nine years. When it flowers, it gives off a rather pungent smell, hence it’s nickname ‘corpse flower’. The plant originates in the rainforests of Sumatra in Indonesia.

Wednesday's afternoon line Photo: Georgia Dunstan-Brown
A long line of people waiting to see the flower. Photo: Georgia Dunstan-Brown

On Tuesday night, the ‘corpse flower’ started to open, and thousands of people lined up at the Winter Gardens to catch a glimpse of the rare sight. The flower hasn’t shown off its beautiful maroon bloom since December 2013, where 17,400 people came to smell it.

Photo: Georgia Dunstan-Brown
Photo: Georgia Dunstan-Brown

Auckland Wintergardens and nursery team leader Melanie James told Stuff.co.nz that the flower’s smell had changed overnight.

“Last night it was old cabbage, wet carpet, but today there’s more of a rotting carrion sort of smell,” she said.

This year’s bloom is even smellier than when it last opened in 2013, she said.

The flower should only last between 20-40 hours, where it will then go dormant and collapse on itself.

Domain staff have been regularly updating their Facebook page about the ‘corpse flower’.

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