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Corpse flower blooms at Missouri Botanical Garden

Jennifer Rattini of Ste. Genevieve, Mo., holds her nose as she poses for a picture taken by her daughter Jessica McCartney (not pictured) as visitors gather near the exotic corpse flower in the Linnean House conservatory on Friday morning, Oct. 18, 2013, at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. The rare bloom, which opened Thursday afternoon, can grow to over 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. The odor emitted from the plant is similar to rotting flesh. "Every flower has its scent," said Rattini. Few Amorphophallus titanum, also known as Titan arum, exist in cultivation, according to the garden. Visitors can see the plant during hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Photo by Erik M. Lunsford elunsford@post-dispatch.com

Breathe deeply if you dare, St. Louis, because the "corpse flower" has bloomed.

The unique and rare flower made its appearance Thursday at the Missouri Botanical Garden, spokeswoman Catherine Martin said.

Its official name is Amorphophallus titanum, but the huge plant gets its nickname from the curious rotting flesh odor its bloom emits.

To accommodate those who want to see and smell the flower in its full glory, the garden is opening at 10 p.m. for three hours just so visitors can check it out. The visit is free but you have be in the door by 12:30 a.m. to be assured you'll get a viewing.

Martin says the show won't last long. The bloom is usually gone within 24 hours. And with the Best of Missouri Show starting, the garden won't reopen until noon Friday.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard.

The garden has five such tubers and the last one bloomed and released its rotting-meat scent last July

The plants bloom every year or two, and in just the right conditions.