A Child & Nature Reunion

Donna Ferguson, The Guardian |  Dec 21, 2019

Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis is in bloom for the first time in a glasshouse at Cambridge University Botanic Garden.  And it's not a sweet smell. The orchid smells like “a thousand dead elephants rotting in the sun” and looks like decaying flesh. The look and smell are adaptations to attract flies.

The orchid is so rare that outside its natural habitat in Papua New Guinea, few botanists in the world have ever seen it in flower.

“It’s such an unusual plant,” said head of horticulture Sally Petitt. “The reasons we cultivate it is because it’s very rare, even in the wild.”