Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Differences Between Rafflesia Arnoldii And Carrion Flower

Rafflesia arnoldii
Last updated: May 8, 2017

Rafflesia arnoldii and Carrion flowers (Amorphophallus titanium) are two different types of plants. Although by the second type of plant is sometimes considered the same even mixed up. I myself had heard of a teacher told the students that the Carrion flower is Rafflesia. 

Indeed Rafflesia and carrion flowers have the same size (giant) and smelled a foul odor. But between Rafflesia and carrion flowers (Amorphophallus titanium) have differences in biological classification, shape, color, way of life, and the life cycle. 

Rafflesia is a genus of parasitic plants flower. The Rafflesia arnoldii was discovered by a British Lieutenant named Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles who had been appointed the Governor of Bencoolen Province (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 contains approximately 27 species (including four incompletely as recognized by Meijer 1997), all species can be found in Southeast Asia, in the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, and the Philippines. This plant has no stems, leaves or true roots. 

Rafflesia arnoldii can reach a diameter of about 1 meter
Rafflesia is endoparasites on Tetra stigma vines of the genus (family Vitaceae), spreading haustorium similar roots in the vines network. In some species, such as Rafflesia arnoldii, the flower diameter may be more than 100 cm, and weighing up to 10 kg. Even the smallest species, the Rafflesia manillana, flower diameter is 20 cm. Rafflesia is much known to the public is kind of Rafflesia Arnoldii. Type of forest grows only in southern Sumatra, especially Bengkulu. 

The main characteristic that distinguishes corpse flower Rafflesia with the laity is widened shape (not high) and red. When in bloom, the flowers can reach a diameter of about 1 meter and 50 cm tall. Rafflesia flowers do not have roots, stems, and leaves. The flowers have 5 crowns. At the base there is a barrel-shaped flower stamens or pistils, depending on the sex of flowers. This flower growth period takes up to 9 months, but the flowering period of only 5-7 days. After that Rafflesia will wither and die. Until now Rafflesia has never successfully bred outside their natural habitat. Rafflesia requires primary forest habitat to survive. 

Bit of information, as long as 200-year-old plants of the genus Rafflesiaceae difficult to classify due to the characteristics of the body that are not public. Based on DNA research by botanists at Harvard University recently, Rafflesia put in the family Euphorbiaceae, a family with rubber trees and cassava. But it is still not well publicized. 

The bud of Rafflesia arnoldii
Several species of Rafflesia in Indonesia; Rafflesia arnoldii (endemic in West Sumatra, Bengkulu and Aceh), R. borneensis (Borneo), R. cilliata (East Kalimantan), R. horsfilldii (Java), R. patma (Nusa Kambangan and Pangandaran), R. rochussenii (West Java), and R. contleyi (eastern Sumatra). 

Scientific classification: 
Kingdom: Plantae 
Division: Magnoliophyta 
Class: Magnoliopsida 
Order: Malpighiales 
Family: Rafflesiaceae
Genus: Rafflesia

Carrion Flower

Besides Rafflesia, another giant flower known to the public is Kibut or Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanium) also known as the Carrion flower. This type of endemic grows in the forests of Sumatra - Indonesia.

Titan Arum is not in bloom

The Carrion flower Titan arum is cream-colored on the outside and on the towering. Overview current form looks like a flower blooming trumpet. When Rafflesia just wide, the Carrion flower grows tall. Corpse flower Amorphophallus titanium species can reach about 3 - 4 m.

In addition, the Carrion flower is monoecious plants and protogini, where the female flowers receptive first, then followed by ripe male flowers, as a mechanism to prevent self-pollination. The stench issued by the flowers, like the Rafflesia, serves to attract beetles and flies pollinators for the flowers. After the flowering period (approximately 7 days) pass, the corpse flower will wither. And going back through the cycle, returning to the vegetative phase, which will grow new trees in the former corpse flower bulbs.

If fertilization occurs during the flowering period, it will form a red colored fruit with seeds on the former base of the flower. These seeds can be planted a tree in the vegetative phase. These seeds are now cultivated. 

Taken from:

Titan Arum - the world's tallest flower
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Photos by: Adriansyah Putera & Peter Kimball
Photographed in Taba Penanjung and Tebat Monok, Bengkulu province - Indonesia. 


  1. Beautiful Nature. Amazing Giant Flowers. Great post,it's so informative thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you very much for stepping in and dropping a kind comment Ambreen Shaikh. Much appreciated.