Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 17:45

The latest example of the world’s biggest, smelliest flower has opened up at the Eden Project in Cornwall today in the midst of the heatwave.

The titan arum  - proper name Amorphophallus titanium -  was not expected to flower today (Tuesday June 20).  Staff think that the opening of its leaves has been brought on by temperatures nearing 40 degrees in the Rainforest Biome.

Eden storyteller Rob Copeland, who is pictured with the flower, said:  “It’s taken us a bit by surprise today as it has gone into its glory early.  Visitors will have about 48 hours to enjoy it in full bloom and to sample the unique pong.

“It has grown about a metre in the last week which suggests to us that the heat has brought it on. 

“It is one of the smaller ones we’ve had.  The advantage to visitors is that they can get up close and peer down to the bottom of the flower spike to see the beautiful flowers at the base.  If they don’t fancy the smell they can hold their noses.”

This rare, giant plant from Sumatra, Indonesia, has become an Eden speciality in recent years. It can grow for up to ten years and reach more than three metres but flowers just momentarily before dying back.

Eden’s latest titan arum has been grown by inhouse expert Tim Grigg, who has cultivated many of the spectacular red and green blooms since the project opened in 2001.

Titan arums are thermogenic, meaning they produce their own heat to spread their smell and attract pollinators. When the flower first opens it heats up to around 38 degrees centigrade and can sometimes be smelled from up to half a mile away.