Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Rafflesia, a native of rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo in the Indonesian Archipelago, is the largest flower in the world. Interestingly, Rafflesia is a parasitic plant without any leaves, stems and roots (It has only nutrient-absorbing threads to absorb nutrients from the host on which it lives) but for the largest flower. Rafflesia is a huge speckled five-petaled flower with a diameter up to 106 cm, and weighing up to 10 kg. Rafflesia flower has a small life of 5-7 days. Rafflesia has their stamens and pistils fused together in a central column, producing a corona, or crown, in the shape of a ring. The reddish brown colors of the petals are sprinkled with white freckles. The smell attracts the carrion flies and then pollination occurs. After 9 months of maturation, Rafflesia plant opens into a cabbage-sized bud. The sexual organs are located beneath the rim of the disk. 

The genus Rafflesia is named after adventurer and founder of the British colony of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles. Dr Arnold is remembered in the species name as Rafflesia arnoldii. It is the official state flower of Sabah in Malaysia, as well as for the Surat Thani Province, Thailand. Rafflesia manillana, the smallest species in the genus Rafflesia is also has 20 cm diameter flowers. Rafflesia arnoldii does not have chlorophyll, as all the green plants have and so it cannot undergo photosynthesis.

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