Indonesia Is Now Home to One of History's Largest Flowers
The rafflesia plant—found at almost four feet in size—was recently discovered in a West Sumatran forest.
Even the biggest plant enthusiasts may be taken by surprise by a rafflesia plant recently spotted in Indonesia. Though the plant has already been given nicknames such as "monster flower" and "corpse flower" due to its leech-like qualities and odor that resembles rotting meat, a recent discovery has officially earned it a new moniker. That name? World's largest flower. According to CNN, the plant was found in a West Sumatran forest at four feet in diameter.
The Natural Resources and Conservation Center in West Sumatra states that this monstrous finding makes this rafflesia plant the biggest flower ever cited. Indonesia previously housed the largest rafflesia in 2017, though it was four inches smaller in comparison to the newest discovery. Size isn't all that makes the rafflesia notable: The plant's claim to fame is also its lack of roots or leaves, as well as the fact that the parasitic bloom feeds on another plant's nutrients to survive. It then takes over the host plant to show its flowers.
This flower uses its distinct smell to attract insects that will pollinate the plant. According to the Natural Resources and Conservation Center, Indonesia also features a similar "corpse flower" in the region. The Amorphophallus titanum, or "Titan arum," has similar qualities to the rafflesia because of its rotting smell that attracts insects. This plant is a combination of multiple flowers and can also get large in size to rise up to seven to 12 feet and weigh about 170 pounds. The rafflesia can weigh up to 15 pounds.
While the most recent rafflesia discovery is record-breaking, its life will be short lived. The rafflesia has a mouth that appears in its center and is surrounded by large flower petals. Once the mouth opens, it rots after about one week.