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What's That Smell? Oh, Right: The Corpse Flower Has Bloomed

Crowds have already flocked to catch a glimpse—and whiff—of the corpse flower at the U.S. Botanic Garden.
WAMU/Armando Trull
Crowds have already flocked to catch a glimpse—and whiff—of the corpse flower at the U.S. Botanic Garden.

The long wait is finally over for visitors who have been yearning for a whiff of a giant flower that smells oddly like rotting flesh.

The giant rainforest plant known as a "corpse flower'' for its smell began blooming yesterday afternoon at the U.S. Botanic Garden, next to the U.S. Capitol. Experts had been anticipating its bloom for more than a week and have extended the garden's hours for visitors.

Garden officials expect the flower to remain open for one or two days, and the garden will be open tonight until 8 p.m. If you can't make it down there—or can't bear the smell—check the live-stream.

Scientists say the flower's odor attracts insects that are normally drawn to rotting flesh.

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