Thursday, October 22, 2009

World's Largest Flower

Río Blanco, Veracruz.
Something unusual happened in July in this town in the high mountans in the center zone of the State of Veracruz with the apparition of the plant listed as the largest flower of the planet.
The largest flower in the world was born in Río Blanco, Veracruz, México.
Two meters high and weighing 75 kilos, it has the peculiarity of blooming only during three days every 40 years.
Amorphophallus titanum, also called cadaverous flower has the pecularity of blooming only during three days every 40 years, a privilege that Mother Nature bestowed on this town in Veracruz .
The plant enters a dormant phase of several months after a leaf senesces, before sending up a replacement leaf and growing a new root system. Leaves are hysteranthous: flowers are borne by otherwise dormant plants. The timing of dormancy and growth phases seems to be more or less random with respect to the seasons; wild populations are reported to have plants in various stages of growth at any given time. It is unclear why the plants ever go dormant at all, given their equatorial habitat.
There are 16 species of rafflesia, found in Sumatra, Malaysia and Borneo. The species is named after the naturalist Sir Stamford Raffles, who founded the British colony of Singapore in 1819. Raffles discovered the parasitic plant with his friend Dr. Joseph Arnold during their travels in May 1818. The rafflesia arnoldi is named after the two.
Several species of Rafflesia grow in the jungles of Southeast Asia, all of them threatened or endangered. Not only is it the world’s largest flower, it is one of the most bizarre and improbable organisms on the planet.
It produces no leaves, stems or roots but lives as a parasite on the Tetrastigma vine, which grows only in primary (undisturbed) rainforest. Only the flower or bud can be seen; the rest of the plant exists only as filaments within its unfortunate host. The blossom is pollinated by flies attracted by its scent.

However fascinating and beautiful the rafflesia arnoldi may be, it is also called “corpse flower” and really reeks, the latter to attract flies for pollination.

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