Sometimes it's hard to decipher what excites people. Most of us like flowers for, among other things, their fragrance. But try telling that to the crowds thronging the Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary in Alattil, Kerala.
Grant them their botanical quotient, though. After all, they're visiting the sanctuary for a glimpse of the Amorphophallus titanum or the corpse flower, which is in full bloom right now. A very rare event, it has taken place for the first time in the past nine years.
It's just that the corpse flower emits an extremely foul odour, akin to the smell of rotting flesh, its name coming from the fact that it wilts and dies in two days.
The smell is unpleasant only to human and, quite possibly, animal noses. The flower, which reaches a height of two metres, uses the rotting smell to attract insects for pollination.
The video above is a time lapse that follows the flower from germination to full bloom.
The video below, uploaded by National Geographic, takes you behind the stink. The flower, which was discovered by western scientists in the late nineteenth century in Indonesia, attain "peak stench" a few hours after blossoming. In the video, visitors to the park are disappointed that the flower didn't smell as bad as they thought it would. One of the park attendants explains that this is because the odour is at its worst in the middle of the night.
Wondrous though the corpse flower might be, it's not the rarest or strangest plant that natural world has to offer. On this list of the 10 strangest plants on the planet, the corpse flower makes it to the ninth spot.
Plants aren't entirely harmless. While they won't attack you like a lion or tiger would, there are many that could kill a human being. Here's a list of 10 plants that could kill. The kicker? Quite a few of the plants are common household plants that could be in a backyard garden.