In Indonesia, a team of environmentalists announces that they have discovered the largest flower in the world. Visually attractive, however, it gives off a strong smell of rotting meat.
The title of the biggest flower in the world goes (again) to Rafflesia tuan-mudae. These plants have no roots, stems or leaves, just huge petals revealed by a bud. The previous record was held by a 107-centimeter-diameter flower spotted a few years ago in the jungles of west Sumatra. She has just been dethroned by a specimen spotted a few days ago not far from it, in Nagari Baringin, in the Palembaya district. This flower, we learn, would have a diameter of 111 centimeters!
“This is the largest specimen of Rafflesia ever documented,” said environmentalist Ade Putra at the conservation agency Agam in Sumatra. “The flower will only flower for about a week before it withers and rots,” he added.
A foul odor
In addition to its impressive diameter, Rafflesia tuan-mudae also stands out with its red petals punctuated by small white spots. This flower, named after British colonialist Sir Stamford Raffles who spotted one in Indonesia in the early 19th century, also has a very strong smell of rotting meat. An intelligent strategy, since the flies that ensure its pollination are great lovers of cooked meat.
You will find the species in several countries in Southeast Asia, mainly in the Philippines, Sumatra and in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo. You should also know that the flower lives as a parasite on the Tetrastigma vine. In other words, its survival depends on this organism.
We also recall that a few months ago, a team of researchers announced that they had identified in China a species of fossil plant over 174 million years old, called Nanjinganthus dendrostyla. It was previously thought that the first flowering plants (angiosperms) developed around 130 million years ago. This discovery therefore pushes back the origin of flowers that are at least 44 million years old.
Despite everything, the world of flowers is still very mysterious today. Many questions remain unanswered. For example, researchers still don’t know why they appeared so late compared to other plants that have populated Earth for at least 220 million years. We also do not know why or how they were so quickly imposed afterwards.