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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 13:57 GMT
Titan is causing a stink at Eden
Titan arum at Eden
It will go into full flower in about three weeks
One of the world's smelliest plants has shocked gardeners at Cornwall's Eden Project by blooming during the winter.

The Titan Arum is flowering many weeks earlier than expected in the Humid Tropics Biome.

The attraction's horticultural teams put the growth down to high temperatures in 2006 and a mild start to the new year.

The plant is currently 45cm (17.7in) tall but is growing at 10-15cm a day and could eventually reach 3m (9.84ft).

'Very excited'

It will go into full flower in about three weeks when it will give off a foul odour.

It was first planted among a batch of seedlings nine years ago at Eden's Watering Lane Nursery.

Titan arum
Full name: Amorphophallus titanum
Originates from Sumatra
Its other nickname is the corpse flower

Humid Tropics Biome curator, Don Murray said: "We are very excited the Titan is starting to flower at this time of the year.

"This is possibly the earliest this plant has ever come to bloom outside the tropics.

"It is amazing to see the tip of the plant pushing through even before the daffodils are out."

When the plant is ready to attract pollinators, the spike heats up and gives off the smell which, while revolting to humans, is very alluring to insects.

It then develops a fruit which attracts birds before ending its life.

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