Switzerland: Smelly corpse flower draws thousands

Visitors look at a blooming Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum), pictured in the botanical garden of the university of Basel, in Basel, Switzerland, 23 April 2011. The 17-year-old Amorphophallus titanum has never bloomed before

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Thousands of people are flocking to the northern Swiss city of Basel to see a giant, stinky flower bloom for the first time.

The Amorphophallus titanum - known as corpse flower because it exudes a smell of rotting flesh - is the first to blossom in Switzerland in 75 years.

The Basel Botanical Gardens expects the 6.6ft (2m) plant to attract 10,000 people whilst in bloom.

The bloom is set to wilt late Saturday or Sunday.

Worldwide, there have been only 134 recorded blooms from artificial cultivation, according to AP news agency.

The flower first began to poke out of the soil in March, and in the past few days it had been growing at about 6cm a day, according to Swissinfo news website.

Its mother plant last bloomed in the Frankfurt Palm Garden in 1992.

Originally native to the tropical rainforests on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the plant requires a humid climate to grow and rarely blossoms, even in the wild.

The flower's smell, said to be a cross between burnt sugar and rotting flesh, is designed to attract insects for pollination.

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