Big Stinky Flower Blooms Next To U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON (July 22, 2013)--Visitors to the nation’s capital who have been yearning for a whiff of a giant flower that smells oddly like rotting flesh got it Monday.

The giant rainforest plant known as a "corpse flower" because of its terrible smell began blooming Sunday afternoon at the U.S. Botanic Garden next to the Capitol.

Experts anticipated the bloom for more than a week and extended the garden's hours for visitors.

Garden officials expected the flower to hit "peak smell" early Monday, and remain open for one or two days.

The flower, which is more accurately known as the titan arum, is native to the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia, and was discovered in 1878.

Scientists say the flower's odor attracts insects that are normally drawn to rotting flesh.

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