Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rafflesia Arnoldii

Indonesia's rain forests, one of the oldest and richest on earth are dominated by dipterocarp trees in whose shelter have evolved plants with giant flowers that rank among the greatest wonders of the natural world. Two plants in particular are renowned not only for their size, but also for their spectacular shapes, textures and odours.

Giants Flowers of the World


These plant were brought to the notice of the world in the 19th century. Rafflesia Arnoldii was named after Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore, and his physician Joseph Arnold, who found it while exploring the foothills near Bengkulu in 1818. An Italian explorer, Odoardo Beccari, was the first to describe the titan arum. A. titanium, in 1878, in both instances, their description were initially greeted with disbelieft, Rafflesia flower are one meter across and weight nearly seven kilograms, while the titan arum's inflorescence grows to over two meters in height (3.3 meters has been recorded). Over 100 species of Amorphophallus grow in various parts of the world, many of which have large, grotesque blooms. A decus-silvae, also found in Sumatra, has a smaller inflorescence than A. titanium, measuring 1.5 meters, but on a much longer stalk, giving an overall height of some 4.4 meters.

In the case of R.arnoldii the flowers are produced singly, and are either male or female. Amorphophullus, on the other hand, produces a spike-like inflorescence on which many flowers are clustered. The upper section, or appendix, is sterile but bellow this, hidden from view, are separate bands of numerous tiny male and female flowers.


Composite Section of Male and Female Rafflesia Flowers

  1. Lobe
  2. Diaphragm
  3. Processes
  4. Disk
  5. Ramenta
  6. Central Column
  7. Anther
  8. Ovary
  9. Cupute

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