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Khao Sok Discovery is one of the leading tour operators in Phuket, Thailand. We organize day trips, packages tour overnight to Khaosok National Park.
RAFFLESIA
The Largest Flower  in the World
 

In some species, such as Rafflesia arnoldii, the flower may be over in diameter, and weigh up to . Even the smallest species, R. manillana, has 20 cm diameter flowers.

 
David Attenborough explains the functions of fungi and parasites in the jungle. The "corpse flower," which weighs up to 10 kg in some species, is the only visible part of the parasitic plant Rafflesia
Dr. Joseph Arnold in 1818, and named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the leader of the expedition.It contains approximately 27 species (including four incompletely characterized species as recognized by Meijer 1997), all found in southeastern Asia, on the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, and the Philippines.

 The plant has no stems, leaves or true roots. It is an endoparasite of vines in the genus Tetrastigma (Vitaceae), spreading its root-like haustoria inside the tissue of the vine. The only part of the plant that can be seen outside the host vine is the five-petaled flower.



RAFFLESIA

Rafflesia kerrii is a member of the genus Rafflesia. It is found in the rainforest of southern Thailand and peninsular Malaysia, with the most famous population in the Khao Sok National Park. The local Thai names are Bua Phut (บัวผุด) and Bua Tum (บัวตูม).

The red flowers have a diameter of 50-90 cm and smell awfully of rotten meat to attract flies for pollination. The plant is a parasite to the wild grapes of the genus Tetrastigma (T. leucostaphylum, T. papillosum and T. quadrangulum). , but only the flowers are visible. Small buds appear along the trunk and roots of the host, which after 9 months open the giant flowers.
 

After just one week the flower dies. The species seems to be flowering seasonally, as flowers are only reported during the dry season, from January to March, and more rarely till July. The flower is endangered. Though already naturally rare, tourists trying to get close to the flower for photos easily trample the host plant or young buds. Also the locals collect both buds and flowers both as a delicacy as well as for its claimed medical powers. A concoction of cooked buds or flowers is used as a general tonic, to help for fever or backache or even as a sexual stimulant. However western medicine doesn't recognize any medical power of the flower. The flower is the symbol flower of Surat Thani Province, which is the location of the Khao Sok NP.
Not everyone's perfume
 

We expect flowers to smell lovely, or at the worst to have no scent at all. There is one flower, however, which really stinks. Rafflesia lives in the jungles of Sumatra, Borneo and part of Philipine and is the largest flower in the world - it's a metre wide.

This huge flower spreads its leathery, wart-covered petals just above the surface of the forest floor. In the centre is a vast, spike-filled cup from which comes the putrid stench of rotting, dead flesh.

So what could possibly be persuaded to approach this monstrous flower? Flies that feed on decomposing bodies swarm to it, expecting a feast, and happily transfer pollen as they come and go.
 

  Description and Characteristics
    Lets get the facts out of it (Scientific Name: Rafflesia ssp)
  • The world's largest flower weighing about 9 kg and almost 1 meter wide
  • Totally dependent on one particular vine called Tetrastigma (related to the grapevine)
  • The Rafflesia is a disembodied flower. A rootless, leftless and stemless parasite, it drains nourishment and gains physical support from its host vine. Its only body outside the flower consists of strands of fungus-like tissue that grow inside the Tetrastigma vine. It first manifests itself as atiny bud on the vine's stem. Most buds rot before they attain maturity, but when they finally open nine or more months, they display five huge, fleshy petals that can reach in extreme cases almost one meter in diameter and weigh over seven kilogrammes
  • Over a period of 12 months, it swells to a cabbage like head that bursts around midnight under the cover of a rainy night to reveal this startling, lurid-red flower. Beauty turns beastly in only a few days. The Rafflesia only flowers for 5 to 6 days, before the petals blacken and the flower withers. The "flowering Beast" begins to smell like a rotting meat, attracting blue bottle flies for pollination

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