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Giant ‘Corpse Flower’ Blooms Next To U.S. Capitol

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(Photo Credit: LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The long wait is finally over for visitors who have been yearning for a whiff of a giant flower that smells oddly like rotting flesh.

The giant rainforest plant known as a “corpse flower” for its terrible smell began blooming Sunday afternoon at the U.S. Botanic Garden next to the Capitol. Experts had been anticipating its bloom for more than a week and have extended the garden’s hours for visitors.

Garden officials expect the flower to hit “peak smell” early Monday, and remain open for one or two days.

The flower is officially known as the titan arum. It is native to the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia, and was discovered in 1878.

Scientists say the flower’s odor attracts insects that are normally drawn to rotting flesh.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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