Tuesday, August 12, 2008

World's Largest Flowers

This is a backtrack to my previous entry which I accidentally deleted a long time ago. Alas, but now is the appropriate time to rewrite this entry again, since I have just returned from Sarawak, together with a few sightings of some of these wonderous plants at Gunung Gading.

Most people recognise the world's largest flower as the Rafflesia. In actual fact, there are a few more specific definitions for this and the Rafflesia is termed as the world's largest single flower. This genus of flowering plants are named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles who is the expedition leader leading to the discovery of this plant. The Rafflesia is a parasitic plant without any stems, leaves, branches and true roots. Its host plant is a woody vine of the genus Terastigma whereby the haustoria of the Rafflesia penetrate and extract nutrients from them. The flowers are either male or female.

Flower bud of Rafflesia tuan-mudae at Gading

Another largest flower that can be found in Gunung Gading is the Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum). This plant has the largest unbranched inflorescence. As with the Rafflesia, the Titan arum is also known as the corpse flower due to their rotting smell which attract flies for pollination. Both male and female flowers occur on the same inflorescence.

Immature flower of Titan arum


Fruits of Titan arum

The Talipot palm (Corypha umbraculifera) has the largest branched inflorescence. However, this palm is monocarpic, meaning that it dies after flowering, which occur about 30-80 years. Our botanical gardens has one that flower a few years back, back it was a pity that I missed this spectacular event.

Talipot Plam (source: www.panamatours.com)

3 comments:

theysaywordscanbleed said...

that is huge!

arlene,
Gig Harbor florist

levia said...

The Amorphophallus in your pic is A. hewittii and not A. titanum. The former is fairly common and widespread in Sarawak; the latter is restricted to the island of Sumatra.

levia said...

By the way, that's also a full sized flower of A hewittii, but it hasn't opened up fully as yet.

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