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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 April, 2005, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Eden crowds set for stinky treat
The titan arum is native to Sumatra

A gigantic flower is getting ready to bloom at Cornwall's Eden Project and is set to cause an incredible stink.

Known as a titan arum, the rare plant has recently been installed in a giant pot within Eden's Humid Tropics Biome.

At present the plant stands just over 6ft tall (186cm) but is still growing at 10-15cm a day and could eventually reach 9.8ft (3m) tall.

And when the plant, also known as the corpse flower, blooms fully it emits a sickening odour.

(The smell)... has been likened to dead rats, decaying fish and burnt sugar
Tim Grigg, Eden Project
The titan, which originates from the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, is a cousin of the lilies known as lords and ladies found in British hedgerows.

Tim Grigg, the gardener who has nurtured Eden's Titan from a small tuber, said: "It is famous for its sheer size, shape and revolting smell.

"This has been likened to dead rats, decaying fish and burnt sugar."

Mr Grigg was first given the plant to look after in 1998.

'Taken by surprise'

He measures the plant daily and keeps notes on its condition so Eden can share data with botanists around the world.

He said: "It has taken us by surprise because we didn't expect it to flower this year. It's the craziest, most spectacular plant."

It is thought to be the largest structure of its kind found in nature.

In the UK, the plant was first brought to flower at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in 1889.

When it bloomed again in 1926 police had to be brought in to control the crowds.

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