Rafflesia speciosa Barcelona & Fernando
Color: reddish or rusty brown
Bloom Time: Flowers can appear at any time
Rafflesia speciosa belongs to medium-sized Rafflesia with a flower diameter of up to 22 inches (56 cm). Whitish warts appear like "rice krispies" sprinkled evenly all over reddish or rusty brown perigone lobes. The plant has no stems, leaves, or true roots. It is an endoparasite of vines in the genus Tetrastigma, spreading its root-like haustoria inside the vine's tissue. The only part of the plant that can be seen outside the host vine is the five-petaled flower.
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. 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 rounded, 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.
It is endemic to the Philippine island of Panay.
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