Something exciting is happening in Washington, D.C., at least if your idea of excitement has anything to do with exotic, putrid-smelling plants, as ours does. The U.S. Botanic Garden's so-called corpse flower, officially known as the titan arum, native to Sumatra, Indonesia, is finally blooming. This is exciting because: a) The plant is gigantic, towering over a normal person's head and possessing one of the largest flowers in the plant kingdom. b) This is a rare occurrence. "The U.S. Botanic Garden has displayed blooming titan arums in 2003, 2005 and 2007," the garden's website says, but this is apparently the first flowering for this 10-year-old specimin. c) It has a smell you wouldn't believe, attracting insects with an aroma of rotting flesh, and creating its own heat to enhance its odor. The flower, which started blooming Sunday night, is expected to reach "peak smell" early Monday.
The bloom only lasts 24 to 48 hours, but for those who can't make it to Washington to bask in its funk, the garden has a live webcam trained on the flower, so you don't miss a second of its hugeness.