The largest flower in the world, produced by Rafflesia arnoldii, is a rarity, whose every flowering is a special occasion, a crowd-pleaser. It also draws pollinating carrion flies by emanating a smell of rotting meat. The Rafflesia arnoldii grows only in the most pristine rainforests of Indonesia, reaching an astonishing 1 metre in diameter. The five “petals” are thick flaps, rusty red and mottled with white, reminiscent of a toadstool. They surround a gaping crater inside which the reproductive organs are found.
A parasite, Rafflesia arnoldii has no leaves, stem or roots, or chlorophyll, so relies on a host plant for food. Read the rest of this entry