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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 21:39 GMT
Plant flowering after nine years
Eden Project's Titan Flower. Picture: Eden Project
The spike's fragrance is attractive to insects
One of the world's smelliest flowers has bloomed at the Eden Project nursery in Cornwall.

The titan arum has been nurtured by horticulturalist Tim Grigg for nine years and started sprouting new leaves in early November.

His first titan flowered in April 2005 and the second in February this year.

The current specimen, 1.5m tall (4ft 9ins), has started its 48-hour flowering period and is said to be giving off a foul stench.

The spike heats up and gives off the smell which, while revolting to humans, is attractive to insects in its natural habitat, the tropical rainforests of Indonesia.

There really is no other flower remotely like it in size and sheer beauty
Tim Grigg, Eden project horticulturist

It then grows fruit and birds feed off it.

Mr Grigg said: "When I saw the new growth I was 100% sure it would just be a leaf but it has decided to flower instead, just as we are approaching winter.

"I was shocked because I never expected it to flower."

"There really is no other flower remotely like it in size and sheer beauty."

A distant relative of the British lily, the titan is capable of growing to a size of 3m (9ft 8in.)

The titan's progress can be followed on the Eden Project webcam.

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