The corpse flower is pictured in the botanical garden in Basel, Switzerland. The Gardens expects 10,000 people to see its amorphophallus titanum in full glory before the bloom wilts late Saturday or Sunday. ((Georgios Kefalas/Keystone/AP))

Thousands of people have flocked to the botanical gardens in Basel, Switzerland, to witness the blooming of a massive, stinky flower.

The amorphophallus titanum, also known as the corpse flower, is two metres tall and rarely blooms.

The one at the Basel Botanical Gardens is 17 years old and this marks the first time it has flowered.

Hailing from the Indonesian island of Sumatra, its smell has been compared to the stench of rotting flesh. The last one to bloom in Switzerland was 75 years ago.

There have been only 134 recorded blooms by the corpse flower in the world.

The flower first began to push out of the soil in March, and in the past few days, it had been sprouting at a rate of about six centimetres a day. 

It's expected to wilt by late Saturday night or early Sunday.

The gardens expect some 10,000 people to witness the rare event and is remaining open for at least 24 hours while the flower lasts. The event is also being recorded on webcam.

With files from The Associated Press