Plant smelling of ‘rotting dead flesh’ sprouts in the Vale

Mrs Zelia Norton with her rare Voodoo Lily in flower
Mrs Zelia Norton with her rare Voodoo Lily in flower

AN AWARD winning Aylesbury gardener says she was ‘quite surprised’ when a mysterious plant sprouted in her garden and started smelling like rotting flesh.

Zelia Norton believes the Dracunculus Vulgaris or Vodoo Lilly sprouted from seeds which she bought in Madeira two years ago.

Mrs Zelia Norton with her rare Voodoo Lily in flower

Mrs Zelia Norton with her rare Voodoo Lily in flower

The 64 year old hospital catering manager said: “It was a real rotten smell, like the smell of dead flesh – well I would imagine anyway.”

Luckily neighbours in Como Road could not smell the plant because she kept her greenhouse doors closed – although she invited them around to have a look and a whiff.

Mrs Norton also remembered seeing a TV program about the plant a few years ago – which prevented her panicking that she had found a dead body in her garden.

The smell only lasted for one day while the plant flowered and now Ms Norton says she is seeking advice on how to look after it – and is writing to an expert at Kew Gardens to see what they recommend.

The Vodoo Lilly, which reaches two feet high, is known for its ‘signature scent of death and decay’ and attracted large visitor numbers when one sprouted in Minnesota Zoo last year.

The stench originates because it is pollinated by flies. When the plant blooms it emits the potent stench to attract insects – who are attracted to the rotting smell and then end up spreading its pollen.

Ms Norton has won a gardening competition in Aylesbury three times.