Skunk cabbage, Stinking iris, dead horse flower…the names of these plants certainly don’t make you want to buy a bunch of them and inhale deeply. Some plants produce an unpleasant smell, often of rotting flesh, to attract insects that would normally feed on dead animals.
Insects landing on the plant then get covered in the plants seeds or pollen, and then spread the seeds or pollen as they move around. The species that earns the title of ‘World’s Stinkiest Plant’ is the Titan Arum, or ‘corpse flower’. This plant is native to Indonesia and can grow to an enormous height of 3 metres and. The Titan Arum doesn’t flower very often – about once every six years – but when it does, it produces a very strong odour of a decomposing carcass. Visitors to the New York Botanical Gardens in June were treated to the sight (and smell!) of a blooming corpse flower; you can watch a one-minute time lapse video of the flowering period here.