Aucklanders flock to smell rotting corpse flower

Despite its rotting stench, the Auckland Wintergarden's towering corpse flower is entrancing onlookers.

Thousands of people are expected to line up over the weekend to see one of the world's rarest and pungent botanical spectacles.

The plant, which is a native of Sumatra, is flowering for the first time in five years and is drawing crowds to the greenhouse in the city's Domain.

Tropical plant specialist Nick Lloyd says the stinking scent alone is worth a visit.

"The smell comes and goes in waves - it's a bit like something's died and also has notes of sewage and sulfurous gases as well as the corpse smell."

The plant which is endangered in the wild is "reasonably rare" in cultivation because of its size.

Lloyd said in the past they have had up to 5000 people come through in a day.

"We've had a queue that reaches out the front of the house."

Coincidentally, another corpse flower is set to bloom at Christchurch Botanic Gardens for the first time. 

Auckland's Wintergarden is opening late, until 9pm on Saturday, so more visitors can see and smell the flower.

Tomorrow the spectacle will potentially be over, Lloyd said, as the towering plant at the Auckland Domain only stays open for 24 hours, taking years to bloom again.