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A rare Amazon cactus called the moonflower, which botanists first believe in England, bloomed.

Experts at the University of Cambridge Botanic Gardens maintained night surveillance throughout the week so as not to miss the flowering of Selenicereus wittii, which usually starts at sunset and ends until sunrise.

The moonflower actually bloomed early at 3pm on Saturday, and the garden said it was 28 cm (11 inches) long.

The coveted flower has a sweet smell that turns into rancidity in just two hours as the plant begins to die. This plant is found only in high waterlines in the floodplain rainforests of the Amazon Basin.

Moonflower actually bloomed early around 3pm on a Saturday and said the garden was 28cm long. Photo: Cambridge University Botanic Garden / PA

A post on the Garden Instagram feed said: Oh, well worth the wait. Our moonflower is open and the smell is similar to gardenia and jasmine atm and later turns to the smell of rotten vegetables (we think).

The plant spirals around the tree trunk, and the coveted flower is about 3.6 m high. This plant is considered the only specimen in the UK and is listed in only 13 botanical gardens worldwide.

Alex Summers, director of the botanical garden’s glasshouse, said he was excited to share the cactus flowers that were broadcast live online.

It is very rare to include this plant in our collection, he said, and the moonflowers were the first to bloom in England.

I had a flat stem or pad swirling around the stems of our water chestnuts sent buds at the end of November, which was a lucky spot to float almost 12 feet in the air and easily miss.

He has only recently increased in size, indicating that flowering is imminent.

He added that he liked the story of how British botanical artist Margaret Mee got the attention of a wider audience.

She first saw moonflowers in 1964, but had to bloom until 1988.

Her paintings are housed in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, southwest London. Summers said the cactus is expected to bloom most of the years from now.

Thousands of people around the world watched a live stream of rare cactus this week. The plant was expected to bloom at 9 PM.

But in a comment on the live stream, the team said that the flowering was happening a little earlier than expected and that they were so excited. Then they had a live Q&A on Facebook that was scheduled for 9:30 PM.

There was some confusion about the rarity of the flower, and the public claimed to have their own plant and reportedly sent a photo to the botanical garden.

The CUBG team published an article clarifying that moonflower is a name used for various plant species.

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