Rafflesia Arnoldii(Worlds Largest Corpse Flower)

3 years ago by in Featured, Systematics and Taxonomy, Systematics and Taxonomy

Rafflesia Arnoldii

Rafflesia arnoldii is a member of the genus Rafflesia. It is noted for producing the largest individual flower on earth, and a strong odor of decaying flesh – the latter point earning it the nickname of “corpse flower”. It is endemic to the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Although there are some plants with larger flowering organs like the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) and talipot palm (Corypha umbraculifera), those are technically clusters of many flowers.
Rafflesia arnoldii (Indonesian: padma raksasa) is one of the three national flowers in Indonesia, the other two being the white jasmine and moon orchid. It was officially recognized as a national “rare flower” (Indonesian: puspa langka) in Presidential Decree No. 4 in 1993



The flower of Rafflesia arnoldii grows to a diameter of around one meter (3 ft) and weighs up to 11 kilograms (24 lb). It lives as a parasite on the Tetrastigma vine, which grows only in primary (undisturbed) rainforests. Rafflesia lacks any observable leaves, stems or even roots, yet is still considered a vascular plant. Similar to fungi, individuals grow as thread-like strands of tissue completely embedded within and in intimate contact with surrounding host cells from which nutrients and water are obtained. This plant produces no leaves, stems or roots and does not have chlorophyll. It can only be seen when it is ready to reproduce. Perhaps the only part of Rafflesia that is identifiable as distinctly plant-like are the flowers; although, even these are unusual since they attain massive proportions, have a reddish-brown coloration and stink of rotting flesh. This scent attracts insects such as flies which then pollinate the rare plant. It is not to be confused with the titan arum, Amorphophallus titanum, which is also commonly referred to as the “corpse flower” because of its repulsive odor.


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