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NATURE | Corpse flowers

Turkey vulture confused by foul-smelling flower


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 16:45 - The corpse flower is a rare plant, and if you ever come into contact with one, you'll likely never forget it. That's because it emits a strong scent that's been compared to dirty diapers or, as the name suggests, a corpse.

You'll probably only come across across a corpse flower in a botanical garden.

But if you find yourself in Texas, you may encounter a similar flower with a distinct, corpse-like smell.

The voodoo lily belongs to the same family as the corpse flower. Don and Marilyn MacGregor of Fort Worth, Texas have one growing in their garden and, as ABC news reports, it's started to attract some attention.

Last week, the couple noticed a large turkey vulture sitting on their fence, inspecting the flower.

Turkey vultures are scavengers that prefer to dine on carrion -- flesh that has recently begun the decaying process.

"I could see he was looking at that plant and kinda moving his way up to it," Don told ABC affiliate WFAA.

"And then he said, 'Mmm, I don’t want that for lunch.'"

The vulture eventually flew off and hasn't returned, but the MacGregors say they wouldn't be surprised if he stopped by again.

WHAT'S WITH THE SMELL?

Flowers that belong to the "corpse" family tend to be large and require a lot of pollination before they can bloom.

The scent they emit tricks bugs like dung beetles and flies into thinking there's rotting meat nearby, creating the perfect place for them to lay their eggs.

Having a lot of insects crawling on the plant increases the chances of pollination.

Want to learn more about corpse flowers? Here's five things you probably didn't know.

Source: WFAA

VIDEO: ULTRA-RARE FLOWER ONLY BLOOMS ONCE EVERY TEN YEARS



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