The Sumatran titan arum’s species name – Amorphophallus titanum – means “giant misshapen penis”. Guess what its flower looks like? At full growth, the flower stands 3 meters high, pulses with heat, and smells like rotting meat. The heat and stench attracts flies and beetles, which pollinate the plant. The whole show lasts 2 days.

One of Cornell University’s four specimens bloomed this month: check it out as it opens in time-lapse video.

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[Sources: Korotkova and Barthlott 2009 | Shirasu et al. 2010]


Contact the author at diane@io9.com.

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