The Rafflesia: A Giant Flower with a Stinky Secret

What is the world's largest and smelliest flower
The world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia arnoldii, can grow up to 3 feet (91,4 cm) in diameter and emits a pungent odor similar to rotting meat to attract pollinators.


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For those in a hurry

– The Rafflesia is the world’s largest flower, with some species reaching up to 3 feet in diameter.

– It has no leaves, stems or roots, and lives as a parasite inside the vines of another plant.

– It produces a foul smell of rotting meat to attract flies and beetles that pollinate it.

– It is rare and endangered, and only blooms for a few days before wilting.

What is the Rafflesia?

The Rafflesia is a genus of plants that belongs to the family Rafflesiaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia, where it grows in the rainforests of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. There are about 28 species of Rafflesia, each with its own unique size, shape and color.

How big is the Rafflesia?

The Rafflesia is famous for being the world’s largest flower. The biggest species, Rafflesia arnoldii, can grow up to 3 feet (91.4 cm) in diameter and weigh up to 24 pounds (11 kg). That’s bigger than a bicycle wheel! The smallest species, Rafflesia manillana, is still impressive, with a diameter of 8 inches (20 cm).

How does the Rafflesia grow?

The Rafflesia is not like most plants. It has no leaves, stems or roots of its own. Instead, it lives as a parasite inside the vines of another plant called Tetrastigma. The Rafflesia invades the tissues of the vine and absorbs water and nutrients from it. The only part of the Rafflesia that is visible outside the vine is the flower.

How does the Rafflesia reproduce?

The Rafflesia reproduces by producing seeds that are dispersed by animals or water. However, the seeds need to land on a suitable host vine to germinate. This is very difficult, as the host vines are scattered and rare. Moreover, the Rafflesia flowers are unisexual, meaning they have either male or female organs. To produce seeds, a male and a female flower of the same species need to bloom at the same time and be close enough for pollination to occur.

How does the Rafflesia attract pollinators?

The Rafflesia has a clever trick to attract pollinators: it smells like rotting meat. The flower produces a pungent odor that mimics the scent of carrion. This odor attracts flies and beetles that normally feed on dead animals. These insects land on the flower and get covered with pollen. They then fly to another flower and transfer the pollen, completing the pollination process.

Why is the Rafflesia endangered?

The Rafflesia is endangered because of several factors. First, its habitat is being destroyed by deforestation, logging and agriculture. Second, its life cycle is very complex and dependent on many factors. Third, its flowers are very rare and short-lived. They only bloom for a few days before wilting and turning black. Fourth, its flowers are often collected by people who want to sell them or keep them as souvenirs.

How can we protect the Rafflesia?

The Rafflesia is a fascinating and unique plant that deserves our protection. We can help conserve it by supporting efforts to preserve its habitat and raise awareness about its importance. We can also respect its flowers and avoid picking them or disturbing them when we see them in the wild. By doing so, we can ensure that this giant flower with a stinky secret will continue to amaze us for generations to come.