Europe

Belgians queue to experience 'world's smelliest plant'

People observe the Titan Arum at the Jardin de Meise (9 July 2013)
Image caption The Titan Arum is endangered in its natural habitat of Sumatra's tropical forests

The National Botanic Garden of Belgium is staying open late to give visitors a chance to see one of the world's largest and smelliest flowers.

The Titan Arum rarely blooms, though the Brussels specimen is said to have done so three times since 2008.

The flower rises 2.44m (8ft) off the ground and is expected to wane on Wednesday after only three days.

The Titan Arum is also known as the "corpse flower" because of the strong stench of rotting meat it gives off.

When the plant is ready to attract pollinators, the spike heats up and gives off the smell which, while revolting to humans, is very alluring to insects. It then develops a fruit which attracts birds before ending its life.

It is endangered in its natural habitat of the tropical forests of Sumatra.

A spokesman for the Jardin de Meise said it was "exceptional" that its specimen had flowered so frequently.

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