Jun 16, 2008

Stink Flower

Never let it be said that I do not provide a public service here at "What's That Smell?".

Today, I'd like to showcase this little gem from the flower kingdom....
the humble rafflesia flower;

Also known as the Stink Flower (or Carrion Flower).

This little puppy holds the world's record for the largest flower blossom*. It can measure up to 3 FEET in diameter!

Not only does it have a large blossom, but unlike many other flowers which attract both pollinators and humans with a friendly scent... this thing gives of a smell of putrid, rotting meat.

Since it's main pollinator are flies (rather than bees, butterflies, or the like) it's only fitting that it should give off a stench so terrible that flies couldn't resist it.

While it is classified as a "plant", it does not contain ANY clorophyll and cannot perform photosynthesis as part of it's lifecycle.
Instead, they parasitize other plants and live inside them only to burst out of them when they blossom.

Kind of like ALIEN for the plant world.

Rafflesia plants are known only in the jungles of Southeast Asia and even then in very limited locations.
Since they live inside other plants it is extremely difficult to find a "patch" of them until they bloom... when you can follow the scent to find them.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your sense of smell) the bloom only lasts for a few short days, so once the blooms are gone you're back to looking for a needle in a haystack.
Also, due to habitat destruction these plants are becoming harder and harder to find in the wild.

I'd love to witness one of these rafflesia plants some time. Especially in the wild, but even in an indoor greenhouse would be cool.

I've been fascinated by strange plants since I was a little kid.
I've grown Venus Fly Traps, Sensitive Plants, and I currently have a small bog of Pitcher Plants outside next to the house.
* Correction. THIS holds the record for biggest blossom.

The Corpse Flower (a.k.a. Devils Tongue. a.k.a. Snake Palm)

1 things people had to say:

Dr. Zoltar said...

That's awesome! Sue and I are looking for some decent pitcher plants to put in the backyard. But the ones at the local stores seem to be in bad shape.