Largest Flower - Rafflesia
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.
- R. arnoldii
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. Rafflesias have 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.
Facts About Rafflesia
- Rafflesia is the largest individual flower. Titan arum bears the largest inflorescence.
- Rafflesia is a parasite which attaches itself to a host plant, Tetrastigma vine, which grows only in undisturbed rainforests, to obtain water and nutrients.
- 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.
- Rafflesia 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 flowers are unisexual.
- Forest mammals and tree shrews feed on Rafflesia fruit which is 15cm in diameter, filled with smooth flesh and thousands of tiny hard coated seeds.
- It is believed that rafflesia is related to poinsettias, violets, passionflowers, and other members of the order Malpighiales.
- The rotten smell of the flower is due to the reddish tentacle-like, branched ramentae, inside the corolla of petals.
- Rafflesia is an endangered or threatened genus.
- Rafflesia arnoldii does not have chlorophyll, as all the green plants have and so it cannot undergo photosynthesis.