Stinky Plants

What it is: The extract of the leaves of the ginkgo plant (also known as the maidenhair tree), sold as a capsule or tea. What it's used for: Ginkgo is mainly used to improve memory and prevent dementia (including Alzheimer's disease), but it has also been used to treat asthma, ringing in the ears, sexual dysfunction, and leg pain caused by poor circulation. The risk: Increases the risk of bleeding associated with aspirin and warfarin.
CBS/AP
This column was written by CBW News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Stinky plant lovers are rushing to Washington to get a sniff and a glimpse of the amazing Corpse Plant.

The five foot plant on display at the W.S. Botanical Gardens is in bloom now, which means it really stinks. Some folks have compared the aroma to rotting garbage or spoiled meat. Whatever the case it's a real sensation because it only blooms for a couple of days and people who like to be grossed out are lining up by the thousands.

Well, I'm here to tell you, you don't have to go to Washington get grossed out. Ha-ha.

If you have a Ginko tree in your neighborhood you're in luck. The gorgeous Asian tree with the silky fan-like leaves — at least the female anyway — leaves the most disgusting fruit you can imagine. It smells like a cross between vomit and feces. I'm not kidding. The tree is said to be at least 100 million years old and I can only guess the reason it's survived is its smell. Ugh.

Breathe deep and enjoy.



Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.


By Harry Smith