Rafflesia, the biggest flower in the world!

The Rafflesia is the largest flower in the world and the symbol of Sabah, Borneo.  Flowers measure up to 1 meter across. There are 55 species of Rafflesia, of which 9 are found in Borneo. Pictured here is the Rafflesia Keithii found near the village of Poring. Alongside their rarity, size and unusual appearance, it is the strange lifestyle of Rafflesias that make them so fascinating. The Rafflesia is a parasitic flower. The only visible part of the plant is a single flower that has no leaves, stems or roots.

It blooms within 6 to 9 months. The bud uncurls at night and will only bloom for 6 to 8 days ! I was lucky to find one blooming. Very little is known about its reproduction process. Carrion and Blue Bottle flies are attracted by it’s “rotten corpse” smell and will transport pollen from male to female flowers. I was told the smell is the worst in the early morning.

Loss of habitat and their unusually short blooming period makes them very rare.

Rafesia web (1 of 2)

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