Hundreds line up to see and smell rare 'Corpse Flower'

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - For weeks, the staff and fans of UNC Charlotte's Botanical Gardens have been anxiously waiting for the smell of death to go wafting around their greenhouse.

On Thursday afternoon, that wait was over.

A 12-year-old Titan Arum plant, or "Corpse Flower," went into full-on bloom-mode. The flower, which smells like rotting flesh when in bloom, is a very popular attraction.

"We'll see several thousand people come through here to experience it," said Jeff Gillman, director of UNC Charlotte's Botanical Gardens.

People were already lined up once news of the bloom made its way onto social media. Visitors put their faces close to the blooming portion of the plant, hoping to catch a whiff of a fascinating bit of science.

I went live on Facebook to show a few of the waiting guests' reactions.

In its native habitat, the plant releases the scent of rotting flesh in order to attract pollinating insects. Its bloom is also bright red, which is supposed to mimic rotting flesh.

It's all pretty fascinating, and something you don't get to see every day.

The plant's most putrid aroma will be released until about midnight on Thursday. The bloom will close again Friday night.

Visiting the Corpse Flower is free and the gardens are staying open until 8:15 p.m. Thursday to accommodate extra guests. For more information, check out the garden's Facebook page here.

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