What is the Largest Flower in the World?

The world’s largest flower is the Rafflesia arnoldii. This parasitic plant has no leaves, stems or roots and can grow to be more than three feet (one meter) across. The Rafflesia arnoldii is a rare flower that lives as a parasite on certain vines in the rainforest of Indonesia and the Malaysian peninsula.

The flowers of this unusual type of plant are known for their large sizes and their nonexistent stems, leaves, and roots. They attach themselves to host vines where they draw water and nutrients from them. The Rafflesia arnoldi bloom only occurs for a period between three to five days. On that time it emits an unpleasant odor which attracts insects such as flies needed for pollination. The flower produces no nectar, however. The color of the bloom can range from pink to deep red and is covered with wart-like bumps.

The greeny brown interior of the bloom is divided into five lobes which are further divided into smaller filaments. The open florets produce a sweet, honey-like scent during its first night. Another unusual characteristic of this type of flower is that it has no leaves, stem or roots throughout its life cycle except for the presence of thread-like structures called haustoria which are used to attach the flower onto host vines.

Toward the end of its blooming period, Rafflesia arnoldii produces up to one million seeds inside its reproductive parts. These ripe red seeds are dispersed by animals including deer and wild pigs who eat them along with the meaty insides out of curiosity or accident. The seeds can stay dormant for up to forty years until the vines of the host plant begin sprouting.

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