Rafflesia kerrii

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Scientific Name

Rafflesia kerrii Meijer

Scientific Classification

Family: Rafflesiaceae
Genus: Rafflesia

Flower

Color: Red
Bloom Time: During the dry season

Description

Rafflesia kerrii is a parasite to the wild grapes of the genus Tetrastigma, 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. It seems to be flowering seasonally, as flowers are only reported during the dry season, from January to March, and more rarely till July. The red flowers is up to 3 feet (90 cm) and smell awfully of rotten meat to attract flies for pollination.

Rafflesia kerrii

Photo via flickr.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 13a to 13b: from 60 °F (+15.6 °C) to 70 °F (21.1 °C).

How to Grow and Care

The Rafflesia is in serious danger of extinction as the rain forest is burned and cleared for crop production and urban growth. The buds are also harvested and sold because locals believe they have medicinal properties if consumed. The plant has never been cultivated in captivity and it only grows on the tetrastigma vine, so its survival is seriously threatened.

Pollination is rare because most locations contain only male flowers or female flowers. In order for pollination to occur, the fly must land on the male flower and then take the pollen to the female flower. If pollination occurs, the flower produces a globular, smooth-skinned fruit measuring up to 5 inches (13 cm) in diameter. It contains thousands of seeds. Birds and squirrels enjoy eating the fruit and help to spread the Rafflesia seeds through their eliminations… – See more at: Rafflesia: The World’s Largest Bloom.

Origin

Native to the rainforest of southern Thailand and peninsular Malaysia, with the most famous population in the Khao Sok National Park.

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