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The Amazing World of Flowers-Smallest, Largest, Tallest, Smelliest and Ugliest Flowers

Updated on April 10, 2010

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!

 

Public Domain image
Public Domain image

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.

Public Domain image
Public Domain image

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.

Public Domain image
Public Domain image

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.

Public Domain image
Public Domain image

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. 

Amazing Diversity

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!

 

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    • profile image

      Lucy 7 years ago

      I Love this! Very interesting and and fun too, I especially like the Corpse Flower (horrid name though) it is amazing!

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

      Thank you, Lucy. I love flowers and these are so unique! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Great Hub. Mother Earth has blessed us with such variety.

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

      Thank you, suziecat7! She has indeed! Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

    • fishtiger58 profile image

      fishtiger58 7 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Awesome article I so enjoyed it. I didn't know duckweed was considered a flower.

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

      Thanks fishtiger58. Duckweed's flowers are so minute our eyes need help to see them!! Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 7 years ago from Australia

      Rose thanks for a very interesting Hub on Flowers what an amazing little flower that Duckweed is?

      I can vaguely remember reading somewhere that the Titan Arum only flowers only on rare occasions. My memory recalls 100 years although that sounds a long time?

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

      I don't think it takes that long to bloom. I think I remember reading they seldom bloom in the wild because they require cross-pollination. But in culitvation, it takes a minimum of 6 years to have the first bloom, then they either die or it takes a while to store more reserves to have the energy to bloom again. But I couldn't find what that time period is. It's a very interesting plant. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Kay Creates profile image

      Kay Creates 7 years ago from Ohio

      Fascinating article. It's hard to imagine a flower that could weigh 24 lbs. or be nine feet tall.

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

      Thanks, Kay. I would really love to see the Titan arum and Rafflesia arnoldii. Those two really fascinate me!

    • vox vocis profile image

      Jasmine 7 years ago

      Great hub! Nice to learn new things and once again, excellent choice for the photo gallery!

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

      The plant world is so amazing - such variety! Thanks for stopping by vox vocis.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Wonderful hub! Really amazing flowers!

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 6 years ago

      Thank you jull of alltrades! The floral world is so diverse - I love exploring it.

    • profile image

      Lee 6 years ago

      Thank you.I am a Chinese student and I love these flowers!

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 6 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Lee. Glad you enjoyed the flowers!

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines

      I can't wait for more of your amazing flower finds and posted here. I like the Corpse flower. The flowers in the photos are strange in my country, yet.

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 6 years ago

      Thank you Lita for stopping by and commenting. Glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 6 years ago

      Very well researched and informative hub. These flowers are amazing.

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 6 years ago

      My original area of study in college was horticulture, and even though I never worked in that field, the plant world still fascinates me. Thank you for your comments, Katrina.

    • profile image

      Biz 6 years ago

      interesting

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 6 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by, Biz.

    • greencha profile image

      greencha 4 years ago from UK

      Very interesting ,with beautiful pictures,thankyou.

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 4 years ago

      Thank you greencha. The world is a fascinating place to explore! Appreciate your stopping by to read and comment.

    • Beth 53 profile image

      Beth J. Benson 4 years ago from Richmond, Va.

      Interesting, beautiful pictures! Voted up!

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 4 years ago

      Thank you Beth 53. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. It was fun researching for this hub. Thanks for stopping by.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 4 years ago from San Diego

      Very interesting, and they are beautiful! :) Would be a treat to spot one of these. Up and shared!

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 4 years ago

      Thank you precy anza. I would like to see any of these in nature too!

    • profile image

      smart reader 4 years ago

      INTERESTING i was surprised after reading this it's amazing!

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image
      Author

      Rose Kolowinski 4 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by smart reader. Appreciate the comments.

    • profile image

      qurban magsi 2 years ago

      I am proff: in plant science at S.L Degree college kamber (pakistan)Iam 36 years old , i wanna say these amazing plants shuld b cultivatd throughout the world for students live observations .

    • lhoxie profile image

      Linda Hoxie 2 years ago from Idaho

      These are very cool flowers. I would love to see that 3 foot wide one. So many unique things in the world that we have yet to see or hear about. Thanks for sharing some of them with us!

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