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The Amazing Rafflesia, Cameron Highlands
It lives as a parasite on the Tetrastigma vine, which grows only in primary (undisturbed) rainforests. Rafflesia lacks any observable leaves, stems or even roots, yet is still considered a vascular plant. Similar to fungi, individuals grow as thread-like strands of tissue completely embedded within and in intimate contact with surrounding host cells from which nutrients and water are obtained. Perhaps the only part of Rafflesia that is identifiable as distinctly plant-like are the flowers; although, even these are unusual since they attain massive proportions, have a reddish-brown coloration and stink of rotting flesh, which is why it was nicknamed the "corpse flower". This scent attracts insects such as flies which then pollinate the rare plant. It is not to be confused with the Titan Arum, Amorphophallus titanum, which is also commonly referred to as the "corpse flower".
Rafflesia arnoldii is rare and fairly hard to locate. It is especially difficult to locate the flower in forests as the buds take many months to develop and the flower lasts for just a few days. The flowers are unisexual and thus proximity of male and female flowers is vital for successful pollination. These factors make successful pollination a rare event.
How many of these plants still survive is unknown, but as the remaining primary forests of Borneo and Sumatra disappear, it can only be assumed that their numbers are dwindling. Many are known to be nearing extinction. Some environmentalists are thinking of a way to recreate the species' environment, in an effort to stimulate a recovery in the population of this endangered species. This has proved unsuccessful so far, but the efforts have continued. Steps are also being taken to conserve the forests of Sumatra and Borneo.
Please contact local campanies to visit rafflesia flower because only 4WD can through the destination.
Facts About Rafflesia
* Rafflesia is the largest individual flower. Titan arum bears the largest inflorescence.
* Rafflesia is a parasite which attaches itself to a host plant, Tetrastigma vine, which grows only in undisturbed rainforests, to obtain water and nutrients.
* The genus Rafflesia is named after adventurer and founder of the British colony of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles.
* Dr Arnold is remembered in the species name as Rafflesia arnoldii.
* Rafflesia is the official state flower of Sabah in Malaysia, as well as for the Surat Thani Province, Thailand.
* Rafflesia manillana, the smallest species in the genus Rafflesia is also has 20 cm diameter flowers.
* Rafflesia flowers are unisexual.
* Forest mammals and tree shrews feed on Rafflesia fruit which is 15cm in diameter, filled with smooth flesh and thousands of tiny hard coated seeds.
* It is believed that rafflesia is related to poinsettias, violets, passionflowers, and other members of the order Malpighiales.
* The rotten smell of the flower is due to the reddish tentacle-like, branched ramentae, inside the corolla of petals.
* Rafflesia is an endangered or threatened genus.
* Rafflesia arnoldii does not have chlorophyll, as all the green plants have and so it cannot undergo photosynthesis.
As Rafflesia is one of the rarest plants on earth, people started to study them since 1929. They tried to cultivate the plant artificially, as the plant takes 9 to 21 months until a bud flowers - only to last for less than a week. But all the experiments ended in failure.
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