Massive and smelly: the largest flower in the world found | Sciences

TThe largest flower ever recorded was recently found in Sumatra, Indonesia, measuring 111 cm (3.64 feet) wide. This was a specimen of Rafflesia Tuan-Mudae and beat the previous largest flower record of 107cm to Rafflesia Arnoldii, also in Sumatra.

Rafflesia is not only a giant flower, but it does not have adequate leaves, stems or roots. It cannot photosynthesize and, instead, it sucks food and water from a particular vine using long, thin filaments that resemble fungal cells. It drowns in the vine for a few years before bursting into a flower bud, it swells for several months before blooming in a flower that looks like a bright red bucket with large thick lobes. It emits a smell of rotting meat that, along with its gigantic size, helps attract pollinating flies. Rafflesia also steals part of the DNA of the vine in which he lives, using it for his own genetic code for reasons that are not clear.

But this giant flower is critically endangered as its forests disappear, and it is still impossible to grow. If Rafflesia were a giant animal, such as an elephant or a blue whale, there would be international efforts to conserve it, but instead it remains ignored.


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