The flower with the world's largest bloom is the Rafflesia arnoldii.
This rare flower is found in the rainforests of Indonesia. It can
grow to be 3 feet across and weigh up to 15 pounds! It is a parasitic
plant, with no visible leaves, roots, or stem. It attaches itself
to a host plant to obtain water and nutrients. When in bloom, the
Rafflesia emits a repulsive odor, similar to that of rotting meat.
This odor attracts insects that pollinate the plant.
flower found in Indonesia is the Amorphophallus titanum, or Titan arum.
It is also known as the "corpse flower" for its unpleasant
odor. Like the Rafflesia, the Titan emits the smell of rotting flesh
to attract pollinators. Technically, the Titan arum is not a single
flower. It is a cluster of many tiny flowers, called an inflorescence.
The Titan arum has the largest unbranched inflorescence of all flowering
plants. The plant can reach heights of 7 to 12 feet and weigh as much
as 170 pounds!
- Attenborough, David. The
private life of plants: A natural history of plant behaviour.
Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1995. 320 p.
- Emboden, Willliam A. Bizarre
plants: magical, monstrous, mythical. London, Studio Vista, 1974.
- Nais, Jamili. Rafflesia of the world. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Parks, 2001. 243 p
Edward S. Rafflesia: the superflower. California
Wild, v. 56, Summer, 2003 p. 8-11.
more print resources...
Search on "Botany," "botany Indonesia," "plants Indonesia," or "tropical plants"
in the Library of Congress Online
The Rafflesia arnoldii is the world's largest flower. Photograph
by Harry Wiriadinata and Suwito Alam from article in Voice
of Nature, v. 84, August 1990, p. 14.
Two views of the titan arum blooming in July 2013 at the United States Botanic Garden. The Titan arum is the plant with the world's largest inflorescence,
or cluster or flowers. Photo from the United States Botanic Garden Website.