When we talk about endangered species in Sumatra, we tend to focus on larger, more charismatic species like the Sumatran tiger, the Sumatran elephant, the orangutan and the Sumatran rhino. Bunga bangkai (the corpse flower) – the world’s tallest flower and a tourist attraction for conservatory greenhouses in Europe and the United States – is just as endangered as the animals.
Although visually charismatic, bunga bangkai, or Amorphophallus titanium in Latin, has a fragrance described by scientists as a combination of rotting cabbage, old socks and decomposing fish. The flower is native to the rainforests of Sumatra, although its existence is now as threatened as those habitats are.
The corpse flower plays a v...
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