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  • When people think of the natural wonders of the plant kingdom

  • Borneo is what springs to mind.

  • But we're here in the jungles of Peninsular Malaysia. We've just walked

  • into the great state of Kelantan, over the border of Perak, and we want

  • to see something entirely remarkable.

  • First documented in the late 16th century by French botanist, Louis Deschamps,

  • Rafflesia is the largest flower in the world. At about 85 centimeters in diameter

  • this specimen isn't even the largest. But Rafflesia kerrii,

  • which we find here in northern Malaysia and in southern Thailand,

  • is the second largest species there is.

  • Of the 15 or 20 species of Rafflesia recognised

  • they're all characterised by the same features:

  • five perigon lobes which are equivalent to the petals of any other flower

  • and inside, a corollary disk

  • which is specialised to

  • release pheromones that, well, attract flies.

  • Hence the common name of the "corpse flower".

  • It smells of rotting meat.

  • About five days ago, this was a Rafflesia bloom in its prime.

  • At approximately 110 centimetres across, this is almost as large as these plants get,

  • making this one of nature's true spectacles.

  • Here you can see a bloom of Rafflesia

  • growing on its own vine tetrastigma.

  • It's about 20-25 centimeters across and it's about three days from flowering.

  • At 30 centimeters across this bloom

  • is just a day away from coming into flower. At the moment it doesn't smell

  • of anything at all.

  • But tomorrow is another day...

When people think of the natural wonders of the plant kingdom

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Botanist Alastair Robinson sticking his nose inside a RAFFLESIA KERRII - a short documentary

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    Maggie Choy posted on 2014/08/18
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