Saturday, March 23, 2013

The World's Largest Flower - Rafflesia Arnoldii

Rafflesia, a rare, parasitic, rootless and leafless plant  
Last updated March 30th, 2018

Critically endangered species - Save Rafflesia !!!
The tropical rainforests of Bengkulu province are home to both the world's largest flower- the Rafflesia arnoldii, and the world's tallest flower, known locally as Kibut or bunga Bangkai (its scientific name is Amorphophallus Titanum). There are approximately 28 species of Rafflesia flowers with the Rafflesia arnoldii being the largest. Its flower can attain a diameter of nearly a meter (3 ft) and the flower can weigh up to 11 kg (24 lb). Its petals grow to 50 cm long (20 inches) and 2.5 cm thick (1 inch). Due to its rarity, the Rafflesia arnoldii is considered endangered. 

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The Rafflesia arnoldii which is known locally as "bunga Rafflesia" is one of the plants protected by law in Indonesia. It is a very rare and a unique plant producing no leaves, stems or roots and it does not even have chlorophyll. Because of this the plant must live as a parasite using the Tetrastigma vine as its host to obtain its nutrients and water. Rafflesia arnodii is not a carnivorous plant, it smells a little of rotting flesh only to attract insects which then pollinate other flowers. The buds of the Rafflesia arnoldii take many months to develop and the flower stays in bloom up to 14 days. Rafflesia arnoldii typically can be seen during wet season between June - December. This sensitive parasitic plant grows only once a year in primary undisturbed rainforest. 

The bud of Rafflesia takes many months to develop
Historical Information
The Rafflesia arnoldii was discovered by a British Lieutenant named Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles who had been appointed the Governor of British Bencoolen (currently known as Bengkulu) and the British botanist Dr. Joseph Arnold when they arrived in Lubuk Tapi – South Bengkulu in May of 1818. The names of the two men - Raffles and Arnold - were used to give the plant its botanical or scientific name. Rafflesia arnoldii is now the official symbol of Bengkulu province.

The Rafflesia arnoldii, the world's largest flower can be found in many areas in the jungles of Bengkulu province - Indonesia, normally in Taba Penanjung – Central Bengkulu District (45 km or 28 miles from the city of Bengkulu) and in Tebat Monok Kepahiang District, on the slopes of the Bukit Barisan Mountains, the most accessible being close to the main road halfway between Bengkulu city and the town of Curup. Rafflesia arnoldii may also be found in several other locations in Bengkulu province including:
  • Pagar Gunung - Kepahiang District
  • Talang Ulu, Suban hot spring, and Taba Rena - Rejang Lebong District
  • and Lubuk Tapi, South Bengkulu District
Rare giant Rafflesia arnodii

Species information:
Full name: Rafflesia arnoldii R.Br.
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Rafflesiaceae
Genus: Rafflesia

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More Photos
You need luck to see the very rare Rafflesia 
The world's largest flower - Rafflesia arnoldii
An exotic jungle flower - Rafflesia arnoldii

After a few days of full bloom, this unique flower begins to rot
Without roots and leaves, the only visible parts are the flowers

Photographed in Taba Penanjung and Tebat Monok, Bengkulu Province
Photos by Peter Kimball, Jeff Clairmont, and Adriansyah Putera


  1. Awesome plant. Is it locally known as bunga bangkai? Thanks for sharing.

    1. No, it's not. The main characteristic that distinguishes bunga bangkai (corpse flower) Rafflesia with the laity is widened shape (not high) and red. They have differences in biological classification. Read more about their differences at Thanks for your visit Steven.

  2. Good article Adrian. Keep up the good work!! The last time I saw this fantastic flower in 2010. Hope can see another Rafflesia soon.

    1. Thanks for your visit and comment. Much appreciated.

  3. This is such a unique flower. Very interesting shape. I just adore this flower. Bellissima.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind visit.
      Regards, Adrian