There is currently a corpse plant in bloom at Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is the world's largest inflorescence. It stands close to four feet tall. And no one stands any closer than they can help. It has a very fetid smell that is compared to rotten meat. That is a trait it shares with hawthorns. Although the hawthorn smell is less pronounced. Both apparently attract flies for pollination. With hawthorn's complexity, thorniness, and aroma, you have to admire Missouri's willingness to take adopt this species as their state emblem.
On the left in this image you can see a newly forming thorn. It still resembles the vestigial branches that form these thorns.