Summer may be fast approaching, but the fresh smell of spring flowers is still lingering in the air—well, not all flowers. Unfortunately for those in close proximity to California State University Long Beach, a different kind of floral fragrance will be filling the noses of innocent residents—the smell of rotting flesh.
Titan Arum, also known as the "corpse flower," is a native species to Sumatra, Indonesia and is the world's largest flower—although, according to Biological Sciences Greenhouse, it's actually considered an inflorescence, which is a floral structure composed of a large number of smaller flowers. But the size isn't what makes this flower so...interesting. The actual scent of the bloom reeks of rotting flesh and dead animals.
"The smell is so overwhelming that you can only be exposed in close quarters for a few minutes," Brian Thorson, the botanical curator and botany technician at Cal State Long Beach for the Department of Biological Sciences, told NBC Los Angeles.
Its disgusting smell is actually beneficial to the flower, because it attracts tons of pollinators—especially flies. But the wildest thing about the corpse flower isn't just its smell. The tall center part, called the spadix, actually heats up to help disperse its distinct odor. It'll reach around 98°F, so roughly the same temperature as the human body.
The corpse flower is set to unfurl this week, but people in the Cal State area shouldn't worry—the bloom only stays open and unleashes its scent for a few days, and won't open again for another seven to ten years.
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