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Travel

Rare giant flower blooms in Berlin

It isn't every day that one gets the chance to see an "Amorphophallus titanum," the world's largest and smelliest flower, in bloom. For a short while you can see and smell this flower at Berlin's Botanical Garden.

Originating from the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia the titan arum's inflorescence can grow more than 3 meters in height, making it the world's largest flower. Sheer size isn't all that makes this plant so spectacular - it rarely blooms and then only for three days. On the first day in bloom the plant gives off a strong odor, similar to the smell of a rotting animal. The smell atracts insects which feed on or lay their eggs in rotting meat. These, in turn, pollinate the flower. Its botanical name is derived from the Ancient Greek words amorphous for without form, phallos, and titan – but it has popularly become known as the titan arum.

The titan arum was first scientifically described in 1878 by Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari. As it grows in the wild only in Sumatra, its existence is threatened destruction of the rainforests.

The plant is in the Begonia green house of the Botanical Garden, where the average temperature is 30 degrees Celsius with 80 percent humidity. But that perfect environment for the plant might prove challenging and sweaty for visitors, who'll also have to deal with its pungent smell.

The Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Last admission is at 8:30 p.m., which is also when the greenhouses close.

is/sbc (dpa)