A giant flower, said to be one of the world’s oldest and largest species, has bloomed at a Tokyo park for the first time in five years, it’s reported.
The 2-metre-high (6.5 feet) Titan arum rarely flowers and is notoriously difficult to propagate. The Jindai botanical gardens in the city of Chofu have extended their opening hours especially to allow hundreds of visitors to see the flower, which only blooms for one or two days, Japan’s Kyodo News Service reports.
More commonly known as the corpse flower, the plant’s overpowering smell has been likened to that of rotting meat and helps to attract pollinators such as beetles and flies. Native to the rainforests of western Sumatra in Indonesia, the flower grows on steep hillsides between 120 to 365 metres (400 to 1,200 feet) above sea level but its existence is now under massive threat from widespread deforestation. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified the species as “vulnerable”, just below endangered.