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Corpse Plant Ready to Bloom

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The Titan arum, or corpse plant, is a behemoth (it can grow up to 20 feet tall and weigh up to 200 pounds) that is native to Sumatra, Indonesia, and blooms infrequently. It's best known for its smell--like rotting flesh. Karl Niklas, the Liberty Hyde Bailey professor of plant biology at Cornell,told the Los Angeles Times that the university's greenhouse has had its corpse plant for almost a decade, and this will be the first time it blooms. But why the smell? Presumably to draw insects that would normally be drawn to carcasses. Researchers at the Princess of Wales Conservatory report that the odor is strongest when the plant's female flowers are ready for pollination and when the male flowers are ready to shed their pollen.

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