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Insects are drawn to the world's stinkiest plant. See why.


Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, August 4, 2015, 9:46 - At up to three metres tall, the corpse flower is the world’s largest flowering plant.

It’s also known for bearing the worst stench.

A native to Indonesia, the corpse flower is famous internationally for being the smelliest plant on the planet – which is why one corpse flower at the University of California Botanical Gardens in Berkeley garnered roughly 2,250 visitors before opening up on July 25, National Geographic reports.

The flower, dubbed Trudy, opened up for the first time in six years, releasing “infrequent blasts” of a stench similar to rotting flesh, hence the name of the plant.

So why are insects so drawn to this smelly flower? According to Mo Fayyaz, greenhouse and garden director at the University of Wisconsin’s department of botany, insects are drawn to the flower for the same reason humans take a step back.

For beetles and flies, “[i]t makes them think there’s rotten meat somewhere to lay their eggs, and then that helps the corpse flower to get pollinated,” Fayyaz told National Geographic.


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Rob Ragusa, chemical ecologist and associate professor at Cornell University, says when the flowers emit their stench, flies begin to search for the cause.

”The flies fly in from a distance, land, and then look for dark places within the flower to lay their eggs,” Ragusa told National Geographic.

When these insects get into the flowers tight spaces they become covered in pollen, possibly pollinating the next flower in their path, National Geographic notes

The corpse flower thrives in heat and humidity, along with spacious areas due to its large growth span.

SOURCE: National Geographic | CBC

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