June 26, 2009 / 3:47 PM / 10 years ago

Huge phallic Dutch plant in rare stinking bloom

AMSTERDAM (Reuters Life!) - A giant plant which is named for its phallic shape and smells like a rotting corpse has begun to bloom in the Netherlands for the first time since it was planted 11 years ago.

The rare flowering of the Amorphophallus Titanum, which can be followed by web cam on www.hortus.leidenuniv.nl, will produce a burgundy red blossom with a giant phallic shape jutting out of it and a pungent fragrance designed to attract beetles to aid pollination.

Leiden University’s botanical garden expects another plant from the same batch of seeds planted in 1998 may also bloom in coming weeks, which they hope to be able to cross-pollinate.

“We don’t have that beetle in the Netherlands so if the second one opens we will pollinate it by hand,” garden curator Art Vogel, curator of the garden said on Friday.

The flowering plant stands about 1.8 meters (5 ft 10.86 in) above ground and will be in bloom for about two days, Vogel said. It is the tenth time a plant of its kind has bloomed in the garden since 1956.

Reporting by Catherine Hornby, editing by Paul Casciato

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