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Rare But Stinky Flower About To Bloom At Phipps

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A rare, beautiful sight, but rotten scent has come to Phipps Conservatory.

Officials say the legendary corpse flower (or Amorpholhallus titanium) is about to bloom there at the end of the month.

According to Phipps, the flower has been dubbed "Romero" after George Romero, the horror movie director who made cult classic "Night of the Living Dead" in and around the Pittsburgh area.

The corpse flower, which is native to the rainforests of Sumatra and Indonesia, is now on display in Phipps' Palm Court.

Not only is the flower huge as it grows to be six to eight feet tall, but Phipps' experts also say it also known for its foul stench that resembles that of rotting flesh.

The smell is created by two sulfur compounds and is "designed to attract pollinators like flies and beetles," according to Phipps.

Officials say it was first cultivated for public garden displays in England in 1889.

Once it blooms though, Phipps officials say the flower will only last from 24 to 48 hours before it collapses and decomposes. And it won't reappear for another six to 10 years.

Horticulturalist Ben Dunigan, of Phipps Conservatory, joined KDKA Radio's Bill Rehkopf on the Afternoon News to talk about what goes into growing this rare flower.

"This particular plant is known for having an irregular cycle as far as bloom time," said Dunigan. "It looks as if it will be here in full bloom Aug. 19 through about the 23."

He also said that it's hard detecting whether the flower will develop a bud to bloom or just a leaf.

"The way the bud develops, trying to predict if its a bud or a leaf can be difficult, but we are sure we have a bud," he added.

The plant is growing about three inches a day, and the most intense scent will be given off within the first 12 hours of blooming.

Corpse Flower in Pittsburgh

You can follow updates on the flower on Phipps' Facebook and Twitter pages.

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