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Why does this flower smell like a rotting corpse?

ST. HELENS, Ore. - What would you do if you bought a new home, went to tend your yard and suddenly discovered an awful, overpowering smell?

Kris Moore of St. Helens recently found herself asking that exact question.

"We thought something must have died in the bushes," she said.

But it wasn't a dead animal; it was a plant growing in her yard that was putting off the terrible stench.

At first, Moore thought she was dealing with a corpse flower, a plant with a strong smell that has been compared to a decomposing mammal.

"I was sitting in the back and I could smell an odor like rotting flesh," she said.

Corpse flowers are notoriously stinky, but the large plants don't bloom very often.

According to the pros at Portland's Garden Fever Nursery, Moore doesn't have a corpse flower. Rather, she is likely dealing with a dragon lily, also known as a voodoo lily.

"We couldn't get more than five, ten feet from it," Moore said.

The plants also smell (it's a mechanism to attract insects) but they are a little more common than corpse flowers.

"We'll probably keep them and probably take better care of them next year now that we know what we have," Moore said. "You really don't appreciate how weird this is unless you smell it."

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