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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

After 33 Years, Rare Flower Blooms Again With Less-Than-Sweet Scent

August 01, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

They held their breath for days, waiting for the largest flower in the world to bloom for the fourth time this century. Then they held their noses. Botanists who had been waiting all week were rewarded Wednesday with the flowering of a 10-foot-high titan arum plant that last bloomed 33 years ago. The huge, unfurling bloom filled a conservatory at Kew Gardens in London with an overwhelming odor variously described as being like rotten flesh, fish and burnt sugar.

In the last few days the flower has been growing at an incredible rate--between four and six inches a day. Now its bell shape has fully opened to reveal a rich crimson color.

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