The Biggest Flower in the World - Rafflesia Arnoldii

The Biggest Flower in the World

Despite efforts to stay hidden - hidden in the deep forests of Asia - The Rafflesia Arnoldii is known worldwide. Those who are against it can call it a huge smelly parasite, and they are very mistaken. Also known as flower-lily-monster or corpse, this infamous plant has the largest individual flowers of the world that give off a putrid odor to attract flies and other insects (whose function is to spread the pollen of this plant). The offspring of the flower has five red and very large petals. Specimens have been found up to one meter in diameter and more than 11 kg in weight. It is a strange and fantastic show.

This curious plant evolved with a dilemma: it has no leaves, stem or root. But this is not a problem in the rain forests as the Rafflesia Arnoldii grows in a symbiotic parasitic relation with the roots of a tree (Tetrastigma). Attaching itself to the roots, the plant sucks all the necessary nutrients from its host and remain hidden around the roots most of its life. And so it grows, its flowers bloom, and it waits...

The bud is the first to emerge, like a head of a lettuce peach, emerges from the bark of the tree and explodes into a foul-smelling spectacularly blossom. The putrid smell of meat spreads through the jungle and the insects are attracted and begin their work of bringing the pollen from male plants to female plants. The ovules pollinated may contain up to 4 million seeds that are scattered through the forest by a host of animals including elephants, wild boars, ants and beetles. Most seeds will never become a plant. Of the millions of seeds, only one or two end up on the root of the properly tree. Then, if the humidity is high enough, the seed will germinate and create a network of small vessels in the roots of the host tree. And once again the Rafflesia Arnoldii lies hidden beneath the bark of its host, sucking the nutrients it needs to once again repeat the cycle.

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