Variously known as a “corpse flower” in Indonesia where first found, or “huge deformed penis” under its scientific name, “Amorphophallus titanum”, the strange but spectacular specimen began to bloom Sunday in the national botanical gardens, the Jardin de Meise, on the outskirts of the Belgian capital.

“Flowering is very brief, three days at the very most. Afterwards it will die and it’ll be several years before it blooms again,” the spokesman for the gardens Franck Hidvegi told AFP.

The plant, which looks a little like a giant ear of corn until the red-rimmed flower opens leaving a stench of rotting flesh or fish, stood 244 centimetres (eight feet) high Monday, attracting crowds.