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Thursday, 15 January 2009

Rafflesia kerrii, Corpse Without Stink

Rafflesia kerrii, Lojing Highland, Kelatan, Malaysia.

Rafflesia, generally also known as corpse flower which got this nick due to its rotting meat or corpse smell.

However, a little surprise as my first personal experience revealed, there wasn't any smell at all. May be it is just this specific species, the Rafflesia kerrii of Lojing Highland, Kelatan, Malaysia.

It has got no true roots, leaves, stems. It is an endoparasite of a type of vine in genus tetrastigma (vitaceae).

See the bending plant that climbing its way up the tree on the foreground? This is the vine, host to the Rafflesia.

Let's look at various stages of the flower development.

Fresh and smaller bud "germinate" from the Forest floor.

Getting slightly bigger.....

.....and bigger.....

......and even bigger....... See the rapid growing of internal layers that force open the outer layers.

At the later stage, the real petals enlarged and matured to expose itself.

And one by one the petals open up. In this picture below, two petals have fully opened while the other three are half opened.

Finally, a full bloom. I don't smell anything, but it attracts insects and flies.

Let's get closer and closer on the flower.

And let's see the ending.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Stalking The World Largest Flower, The Rafflesia

Rafflesia kerrii. Lojing Highland, Kelatan, Malaysia.

Rafflesia, the world largest flower, is a parasitic flowering plant. It was first discovered in the Indonesia rain forest in year 1818, and named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. It contains approximately 27 species, all found in southeastern Asia, on the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, and the Philippines. The plant has no stems, leaves or true roots. It is an endoparasite of vines in the genus Tetrastigma (Vitaceae), spreading its root-like haustoria inside the tissue of the vine. The only part of the plant that can be seen outside the host vine is the five-petaled flower. In some species, the flower may be over 100 centimetres (39 in) in diameter, and weigh up to 10 kilograms (22 lb). The flowers of some species smell like rotting meat., and it attracts insects, which transport pollen from male to female flowers. Little is known about seed dispersal. Rafflesia is also an official state flower of Sabah in Malaysia, and for the Surat Thani Province, Thailand.

A trip to Lojing Highland, Kelatan, Malaysia, to try our luck in looking for this giant flower.

The journey starts with greeting faces of local kids, the aborigine.

And this is the aborigine guide.

It was a muddy track. Walking on slippery mud filled track for about 2 and half hours before reaching the location where the Rafflesia bloom.

Refreshing streams and waterfalls along the way.

Weird plant (was it a plant?) that bloom from the jungle floor.

Tiger footprint, still fresh, may be walk by the night before.
Can't see the print? I photoshop it a bit. Now see it?

A dead animal (cat family?) with blood still dripping was found beside the track.

The first sight of the Rafflesia was a big bud hiding beside a waterfall.
See the size while i squat beside it.

And finally, a full bloom Rafflesia (Rafflesia kerrii to be specific) sat quietly beside a stream.

And it's me again sat beside it to show the size. It was measured 32 inches across.