A GREEN-FINGERED Dorchester couple were shocked when a foul smelling rare flower appeared in their garden.

Cherrell and Roger Staple wondered what had happened when a pungent smell drifted into their house in Chestnut Way and discovered it was coming from a plant they bought at the town’s market years ago.

After doing their research the flower was found to be a Dracunculus vulgaris or what is often known as the ‘stink lily’ or ‘voodoo lily’.

Cherrell is a retired nurse and said it is worse than anything she has smelt before.

“It stinks,” she said. “It’s like rotting flesh.”

The stink lily is a relation of the titan arum or “corpse flower” – which attracted hundreds of visitors when one of them flowered for the first time in nine years at the Eden Project at the start of June.

Cherrell and Roger thought it was a dead animal causing the smell at first.

She said: “My husband said to me ‘what’s that smell in the garden.’ I’ve never smelt anything so terrible. We were amongst the flowers on our hands and knees saying it must be a dead hedgehog or bird and then Roger said ‘look this flower’s come up’. You had to put your hand to your nose at the back door and the flower is 20 feet away.”

Cherrell said she bought the plant six years ago at Dorchester market.

She said: “When I bought it I didn’t know it was one of these. We put it in the garden and forgot about it as each year it comes up with green leaves. But this time it flowered. It’s wonderful to see.”

The couple believe the plant flowered due to the dry spring this year.

Cherrell and Roger take pride in their flowers and lawn and often won prizes when Dorchester Town Council held garden competitions in the 1990s.

A member of the Eden Project horticultural team was shown a picture of the flower by the Echo and confirmed its name.

She said: “It’s quite rare to cultivate them in the UK so they must have green fingers. Congratulations to the couple for bringing on these freaky and strangely beautiful specimens.

“It’s always good to see exotics thriving in our warm and wonderful West Country, especially a distant cousin of the mighty Titan Arum, a horticultural beast that we are so proud of down here at Eden.”