World's largest, smelliest plant blooms in Houston

16:20, July 25, 2010      

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Visitors line up at the Houston Museum of Natural Science to catch a glimpse, and a whiff, of the rare Corpse Flower, which emits a carrion-like stench when it blooms to attract pollinating insects July 15, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The world's largest and smelliest plant, Lois the corpse flower, came in bloom Saturday in the U.S. fourth largest city, attracting thousands of curious Houstonians a day.

Now nearly six feet (1.8288 meters) tall, the flower, technically known as the Amorphophallus titanium plant, was the second corpse flower that ever bloomed in Texas and the 29th corpse flower that did so in the United States, said the Houston Museum of Nature Science, owner of the plant.

The flower, nicknamed Lois after a staffer's mother, has been in the museum for six years, since the museum paid 75 dollars for a tuber from a U.S. nursery, said Nancy Greig, director of Cockrell Butterfly Center of the Museum.

The plant is so special because it's totally unpredictable, said Greig. No one knows what triggers a corpse flower to bloom and no one knows when it will bloom in its about forty years of lifetime, she said.

The museum had predicited that Lois would bloom two weeks ago.

The line to see the flower was out the door Friday morning, once word got out that it would bloom soon.

The flower gives off smell like decomposed animals to attract insects, Greig said. It can be in bloom for a few days, but may not bloom for years --if ever.

Corpse flowers, with the largest unbranched inflorescence and one of the endangered species in the world, are native to Indonisia's Sumatra and can grow to be 10 feet (3.048 meters) tall. The tallest corpse flower was recorded in Germany.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:王千原雪)

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