The world's largest and possibly most malodorous flower is back in bloom at Kew Gardens - for a limited time only.

The giant flower of the titun arum, in the Princess of Wales Conservatory, rises a majestic 2.5m.

But it is the foul stench of this spectacular plant which hits you first - a stink experts at the botanical gardens have likened to rotting flesh.

If you want to see and smell for yourself, you'll have to be quick - it flowered overnight on Thursday (April 21) but is only expected to stay in bloom until Monday (April 25).

People have been taking to Twitter to describe the unique aroma.

One user tweeted that it smelled like a rotting corpse, "hence the nickname the corpse flower", while another wrote "the 'Big Stink' is now a tad stinky".

Kew Gardens marked the Queen's 90th birthday by inviting local schoolchildren to replant a 'lost tree' which had been destroyed in 1916.

A spectacular Hive pavilion, in which the light and sound change according to the activity in a real beehive, is due to open at Kew Gardens this summer.

A close-up of the giant, foul-smelling titun arum in bloom at Kew Gardens


  • The titun arum originates in the moist shaded rainforests of Sumatra

  • Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari first encountered it in 1878 and sent seed back to his home country

  • One of the plants that germinated was sent to Kew, where it flowered for the first time in 1889

  • It did not flower again until 1926, when the crowds jostling for a look were so large police were called in to control them

  • The flower rises 2.5m above the ground

  • Its spherical tuber weighs in at 70kg or more, and is the largest such structure known in the plant kingdom

  • After the flower dies, a single leaf emerges which can reach the size of a small tree, up to 6m tall by 5m wide

  • The inflorescence, as the flowering structure is known, grows upwards at a rate of around 10cm a day

  • Its unique pong attracts insects which pollinate the plant