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!
- Virtual Herbarium: Conserving the Giant Titans -
This site provides the history, statistics, and frequently asked questions about the Titan Arum, as well as, documented blooms of the Titan Arum in the United States.
of the Titan Arum - This site from The University Wisconsin-Madison's
Department of Botany contains related Web links, photographs, and information
about the Titan Arum. In addition there is a page which gives updates
of the University's Titan Arum bloom.
arnoldii in bloom - This site contains the photography of Karl Lehmann
of the Lost Worlds Online Art Gallery. There is a picture and brief
description of the Rafflesia arnoldii. In addition, the Web site provides
photography from Asia, Australia, Africa, and the Americas.
arnoldii - This page contains photographs of the Rafflesia arnoldii.
- 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.
Edward S. Rafflesia: the superflower. California
Wild, v. 56, Summer, 2003 p. 8-11.
more print resources...
Search on "Rafflesia
arnoldii," "rare flowers," or "Titan arum"
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.
The Titan arum is the plant with the world's largest inflorescence,
or cluster or flowers. Photo courtesy of Fairchild