Rare "corpse flower" blooms in Belgium

Jardin botanique national de Belgique Facebook

Flower lovers are flocking the National Botanic Garden in Belgium to get a whiff of a...corpse? Well, sort of -- more than 5,000 visitors stopped by for a glimpse of the rare "corpse flower," aptly named for its pungent odor. Stand too close and the air fills with the smell of rotting flesh.

Officially known as a titan arum, the eight-foot plant features a large violet and orange flower that emerges from the tightly-coiled green leaves. It is eight-feet tall and weighs more than 300 pounds.

Garden employees tracked the bloom via Facebook, alerting fans as it came closer and closer to opening. The bloom started Monday and lasts about 72 hours.

This is the first time the flower has bloomed since March 15, 2011. It also bloomed in 2008.

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    Danielle Elliot is a freelance science editor and reporter for CBS News. She holds an M.A. in science and health journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in broadcast journalism from the University of Maryland. Follow her on Twitter - @daniellelliot.