- Education and Science
The Amazing World of Flowers-Smallest, Largest, Tallest, Smelliest and Ugliest Flowers
The Amazing World of Flowers
Which flower has the honor of being the largest flower in the world? Or at the opposite end of the measuring tape, the smallest flower in the world? Which flowers are considered the smelliest or the ugliest flowers in the world? Which flower grows the tallest? I anticipated this article to include more flowers than it ended up with, but several flowers fit into more than one category!
Smallest Single Flower in the World
Water-meal or Wolffia has the smallest single flower.
This plant looks like green cornmeal. It floats on top of the water in quiet streams and ponds. It is a member of the duckweed family Lemnaceae.
The flowers are 0.3 mm with one pistil and one stamen which produce the smallest fruit in the world called a utricle.
To give you some idea of their size, 5,000 water-meal plants could easily fit into a thimble.
Largest Single Flower in the World
The largest single flower is the Rafflesia arnoldii.
It is found in the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo, Indonesia and is one of the rarest plants on earth.
The flower is up to 3’ across and can weigh up to 24 pounds.
The flower buds take 10 months to open up and then the flowers only last 5 to 7 days.
The flower emits an odor similar to rotting meat to attract insects for pollination.
Largest Unbranched Inflorescence (cluster of flowers) in the World
Titan arum, Amorphophallus titanium, or the Corpse Flower has this honor.
It is native to Sumatra, Indonesia at the edges of rainforests in the grasslands.
The plant ranges in size from 7' to 12’ and can weigh as much as 170 lbs.
These flowers emit an odor similar to rotting flesh to attract pollinators, hence the name Corpse Flower.
The flower blooms only a few days.
The plant heats up when in bloom to enable the smell to travel further. It uses an enormous amount of it stored carbohydrates, so it doesn’t flower every year.
Largest Branched Inflorescence in the World
The Talipot Palm or Corypha umbraculifera owns this record.
It is native to Southern India and Sri Lanka.
The flower stalk ranges in size from 18’ to 25’ with up to several million flowers on its branched stalk.
The palm flowers once when it is 30 to 80 years old. It takes a year for the fruit to mature producing thousands of round yellow-green fruit 3 to 4 cm in diameter, each containing a single seed.
And then the plant dies.
Tallest Single Flower in the World
Titan arum has the record for the tallest single flower at 9’.
Smelliest Flower (Worst Smell) in the World
It depends on who you talk to whether the Titan arum with its rotting flesh smell or Rafflesia arnoldii with its rotting meat smell is the smelliest flower in the world. Neither one would be very pleasant!
Ugliest Flower in the World
Titan arum and Rafflesia arnoldii are both considered by most people to be the ugliest flowers in the world.
The world of flowers is very diverse from a flower you can barely see to giants too heavy to lift to stalks with millions of flowers. It is an amazing world!