STOP PRESS !! The big stink – Paignton Zoo's giant flower opens!
PUBLISHED: 12:15 13 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:43 20 February 2013
One of the largest -and smelliest - blooms on the planet has started opening today at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park on Devon's beautiful English Riviera.
One of the largest -and smelliest - blooms on the planet has just opened at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park.
The flower of the titan arum can be up to 2 metres high and 3 metres in circumference, green on the outside and bright red inside, with ribbed sides and a frilled edge. And the smell? Curator of Plants and Gardens Kevin Frediani:
Imagine you have the smell of rotting meat in a tin can and you open that can on the hottest, most humid day of the year!
He added: It has been growing at a rate of around 5 inches per day. It generates its own heat and smell you have to see it and smell it to believe it!
Titan arums have flowered at botanic gardens, but Paignton will be the first zoo in the UK to see one bloom.
We are selling tickets so that people can see it in bloom after hours tonight. Tickets are 5 each but space is limited and pre-booking is essential. Book now at https://paigntonzoo.digitickets.co.uk/events/644. For more information visit http://www.paigntonzoo.org.uk/animals-plants/giant-smelly-flower
The plant - from the rainforests of Sumatra a member of the lily family - is classed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. Public flowerings are rare. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk or ring 0844 474 2222.
For more about what to do and where to stay on the English Riviera visit www.englishriviera.co.uk