For days, gawkers lined up at the US Botanic Garden hoping to be among the lucky ones to catch the show when a giant-sized corpse flower bloomed for the first time in seven years. Its legendary stench was part of the attraction. The Titan Arum plant went on display two weeks ago as a 1.2-metre sprig. By Sunday it had grown to 2.4 metres and had finally started opening its petals. It has now proved to be an unexpected hit during Washington's summer tourist season. A smell almost strong enough to stop traffic lured people inside from the National Mall. And it has now attracted more than 120,000 visitors, about a tenth of the garden's annual number, in less than a fortnight. For about 48 hours, long queues tried to inch close enough to get a whiff of a terrible smell that in the natural world attracts carrion eaters like dung beetles and flies. The Botanic Garden's Laura Condeluci said most of the smell had abated by Tuesday, but the flower had attracted so much attention it was continuing to draw big crowds. On social media, the flower - nicknamed Mortimer - chronicled its moments of glory and celebrity visitors on a Twitter feed at DCTitanArum. "As of this afternoon, both DarrellIssa and jaredpolis will have visited me," Mortimer tweeted on Tuesday, referring to a California Republican and a Colorado Democrat in the House of Representatives. "I have brought bipartisanship to DC. Almost time to retire," the message added. ("Due to high traffic, you may experience some difficulty with the web stream," the Botanic Garden warned). Condeluci said the Titan Arum looked for pollinators in the evening, emitting heat and a smell of rotting flesh as the sun started to fade. The smell, which dissipates in the daytime, generally lasts 24 to 48 hours. "The heat helps generate the scent upward, so that something up to a mile away will smell it and come running," she said. "For us, it's fabulous that people are excited about a plant. It's spectacular to look at and has a slightly terrible smell. Even if folks can't smell it, it's really dramatic."