Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Corpse Flower

I recently came across an article on ‘The Corpse Flower’ in a Watchtower magazine which some Jehovah Witnesses left for me when they came by one Saturday.

Corpse Flower, or Rafflesia arnoldii, is the world’s largest flower. It can grow to about three feet (1 metre) in diameter—the size of a bus tire—and weigh some 24 pounds (11 kg).
The petals of Rafflesia arnoldii converge in a large hollow that resembles a pot and can hold up to six litres of water.
It was officially named after Joseph Arnold, a British botanist, and his expedition partner, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, who was founder and governor of Singapore. Arnold came across the flower in 1818 during a plant-collecting expedition on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where today it is one of three national flowers.

And it gets its more common names of corpse flower, meat flower, devil flower or stinking corpse lily, because of its intense, foul odour. One person described the smell of corpse flower as: “Buffalo carcass in an advanced state of decomposition.” Carrion-feeding flies are the flower’s main pollinators because they find the stench irresistible.
Its impressive size, form, and colour - and its unforgettable stench – make coming across a corpse flower a unique experience. It’s an amazing flower and not easy to locate, but probably not one you would want to have as a household plant anytime soon!

The Corpse Flower is currently rare and endangered. Most of its buds never reach maturity or bloom. Many are harvested to be used in traditional medicine or to be eaten as a delicacy. And ongoing destruction of the flower’s tropical rain-forest habitat poses another serious threat.
Source: Watchtower Magazine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Clearly the smell isn't bothering those children!