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A rare, stinking treat

Stop and smell the flowers — if you dare.

A rare, exotic tropical plant known as a corpse flower is set to unleash its putrid scent inside the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver.

The city's park board says the titan arum is the largest flower on Earth, and when it blooms, it fills the air with a scent similar to rotting flesh, discarded diapers or hot garbage.

The flower usually requires seven to 10 years of growth before blooming, but the board says Vancouver's six-year-old specimen is showing signs it will bloom imminently.

The park board says when the flower is ready, it will unfurl its large flesh-coloured petal and start to emit rancid fumes to attract pollinator insects like carrion beetles and flesh flies that feed on dead animals.

It adds the public won't encounter such insects inside the conservatory, which will extend its hours for a "smell it while you can" experience during the fleeting spectacle which typically lasts just 24 to 48 hours.

"The park board was very fortunate to acquire this rare plant a few years ago," said Vancouver Park Board Chairman Stuart Mackinnon in a news release.

"Our excellent horticultural staff have lovingly tended it ever since. Any day now residents and visitors will have a chance to witness one of nature's strangest displays."

The board says this will be the first time a titan arum has bloomed in B.C. Earlier this year, a corpse flower dubbed "Gagnes" bloomed at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton.

Vancouver is also launching a competition to name the corpse flower online.



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