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With a flower that reaches up to 3.3 ft (1 m) in diameter and weighs up to 24 lbs (11 kg), Rafflesia arnoldii¬†produces the world’s largest individual blossom.

Endemic to the forests of Indonesia, this plant is famous not just for its size, but also for its smell. It emits a strong, foul odor, often compared to decaying flesh, that attracts flies and other pollinators. The “corpse lily” (or sometimes “corpse flower”) spreads its seeds via treeshrews and other small animals that consume its sticky fruit.

Additionally, R. arnoldii has no observable leaves, stems, or roots, and is incapable of photosynthesis. Thus, the corpse lily survives as a parasite, feeding on the nutrients it takes from the roots of Tetrastigma vines. In more ways than one, this massive, maroon, malodorous bloom really does stink.

Today’s Science History Milestone: On November 24, 1892, the Philippines’ first railroad line, the Ferrocaril de Manila-Dagupan, was formally opened. It was the forerunner of the Philippine National Railways (PNR).


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References

  • https://www.britannica.com/list/5-awesome-parasitic-plants
  • https://parasiticplants.siu.edu/Rafflesiaceae/RafflesiaGallery.html
  • https://www.kew.org/plants-fungi/Rafflesia-arnoldii.htm

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Author: Mikael Angelo Francisco

Bitten by the science writing bug, Mikael has years of writing and editorial experience under his belt. As the editor-in-chief of FlipScience, Mikael has sworn to help make science more fun and interesting for geeky readers and casual audiences alike.