A woman looks at one of the world's largest flowers, nicknamed the Corpse Flower because of it's smell, at the National Botanic Garden in Meise near Brussels. The rare phallus-like flower that springs from the plant only survives about 72 hours. (Credit: AP)
WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) -- The giant rainforest plant known as a "corpse flower" for its terrible smell that mimics rotting flesh began blooming Sunday afternoon at the U.S. Botanic Garden.
And what sits next to the Botanic Garden?
The U.S. Capitol.
Experts had been anticipating its bloom for more than a week and have extended the garden's hours for visitors.
Garden officials expect the flower to hit "peak smell" early Monday and remain open for one or two days.
The flower is officially known as the titan arum. It is native to the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia, and was discovered in 1878.
Scientists say the flower's odor attracts insects that are normally drawn to rotting flesh.
More from the CT Post:
The titan arum growing at the U.S. Botanic Garden is about 10 years old, and this is its first flower. It began with a seed the size of a lima bean and has grown several feet tall. The plants bloom on irregular, unpredictable schedules, [Ari] Novy [the garden's public programs manager] said. A hot, humid climate provides the ideal conditions for the plant to produce a flower.
Besides drawing beetles, the titan arum has proven to be a big draw for visitors.
"Over the last many years, this plant has proven to be the biggest attractor, not only of carrion beetles but of human beings that we've had," Novy said. "It's just got everything for a good mystery. It's cryptic. It's exotic. The timing is off. It's inconsistent. It's inconsiderate. It's got all those great things. It's from far away, and it smells bad, and people get interested."
Here's a video report on "the corpse flower," via the Chronicle Telegram:
Featured image credit: YouTube screen grab.