A massive flower with a staggering diameter of 111 centimeters has just been identified in Indonesia, and experts say it is the largest flower on Earth.
A flower of a variety of Rafflesia with 111 centimeters in diameter has become the largest recorded in the world, beating its own record of 107 centimeters. This majestic specimen, of the Tuan-Mudae variety, was spotted recently by Indonesian conservationists at Maninjau, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
The giant Rafflesia tuan-mudae is a fleshy red flower with white blister-like spots on its enormous petals. Previously, the record set by this flower was 107 centimeters. 2020 saw conservations identify an even bigger flower with a whooping diameter of 111 centimeters.
“This is the largest Rafflesia tuan-mudae that has ever been documented,” revealed Ade Putra at the Agam Conservation Agency in Sumatra.
In the Malaysian language, tuan-mudae translates as ‘Beloved or young Prince‘ after Charles Brooke the British Rajah of Sarawak.
Despite its massive size and rare beauty, the flower’s bloom will last no more than one week before it withers and rots.
The flower was named Rafflesia after a British colonialist called Sir Stamford Raffles who spotted the specimen in Indonesia in the early 19th Century.
The massive specimen is found in other Asian countries including the Philippines where experts have recorded a flower with a 100-centimeter-diameter.
The parasitic bloom, sometimes dubbed the corpse flower, mimics the stench of rotting meat in order to attract insects.
Interestingly, the flowers are typically around 60 cm in diameter opening from a 20 cm bud. Infrequently these buds reach 30 cm in diameter in which case a flower nearly 1 m across may form. This is the case of the recently found specimen on the island of Sumatra.
The flowers can be discovered on liana-like vines. The seeds are believed to reach the host plant by a stull unidentified animal vector: they penetrate the tissue of the root, and eventually grow inside the host tissue before buds develop.
Te bud develops for around nine months before it turns into a massive reddish flower. According to botanists, male and female flowers can be differentiated by looking under the flower’s central disk for the anthers.
However, experts discourage people from touching the gigantic flowers–particularly the buds–as they are already very fragile and touching them may destroy the flowers which bloom for no more than seven days.