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'Corpse flower' smells like zombies, and the most monstrous one ever is now blooming

Contributed by
Jan 7, 2020, 9:17 PM EST (Updated)

You can probably imagine that if The Walking Dead were real life, those hordes of zombies shambling around would give off such a stench that you’d be able to run before anything undead bit you.

Rafflesia tuan-mudae smells that rank. No, really. Not that anyone who hasn’t smelled death wants to know what its perfume is like, but this puke-orange flower — also known as the “corpse flower” — doesn’t exactly smell like roses. Think more along the lines of expired meat that’s been rotting in the fridge. Now Indonesian conservationists have found the largest Rafflesia ever in West Sumatra, and this thing has also broken the record for largest blooming flower in the world.

There are several other plants (such as the sort of NSFW Amorphophallus titanium) that share the “corpse flower” honor, and 28 species of Rafflesia in the world, but this one is by far the hugest monster of them all. This behemoth is 3.6 feet in diameter and about 24 pounds. The last record-breaking bloom was a Rafflesia of the same species found in the same location (not too surprisingly), and this one only beat it by four inches. Not that a blooming cadaver a couple inches smaller is any less nauseating.

What is even grosser about the Rafflesia is that it's a parasite. It has no roots or leaves, but will invade the vine of the tropical grape vine tetrastigma, feeding off its water and nutrients for nine months before its stars unfurling. That smell inevitably attracts flies and other creepy crawlers that enjoy the essence of decomposing flesh. Temptation comes at a price for any creatures that are brave enough to approach. Its leathery petals form a bowl in the middle that could easily swallow a cat... if the cat in question had no sense of smell.

At least this Rafflesia will only be in bloom for one week before it finally rots for real and everyone can breathe fresh air again. By the way, a website dedicated to this bizarre bloom actually exists.

(via CNN)


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