Rafflesia, Amorphophallus Flowers To Be Promoted As Botanical Treasures

07 Oktober, 2014 | Source: antara news

Jakarta (Antara News) - Bengkulu, which is dubbed "The Land of Rafflesia", is set to host an international symposium on Rafflesia and Amorphophallus flowers, the worlds rarest and largest flowers, in September 2015.

"Bengkulu has been chosen as the host city because the Bengkulu forest is home to Rafflesia and Amorphophallus flowers," researcher of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) Sofi Mursidawati said in Bengkulu on Oct 3, 2014.

The symposium, to be organized jointly by LIPI and the Bengkulu administration, was originally planned to focus on Rafflesia, but later the organizing committee decided to also include Amorphophallus, because much of the public cannot distinguish between Rafflesia and Amorphophallus flowers.

Discovered by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles and British botanist Josepth Arnold in Bengkulu in 1818, Rafflesia is a parasitic flowering plant with no visible leaves, roots, or stem.

When in bloom, the Rafflesia emits a foul odour, similar to that of rotting meat, which gives this flower its local names of corpse flower or meat flower. This odour attracts insects, such as flies and carrion beetles, which transport pollen from male to female flowers.

The Rafflesia can only be seen when it is ready to reproduce. At this stage, a tiny bud forms on the stem of the vine, which develops for a period of nine to 12 months and resembles a cabbage. This cabbage-like bud will open to reveal the massive five-petaled flower, which remains visible for about one week.

The unique Amorphophallus titanium, commonly known as titan arum or the "corpse flower", is a large, fast-growing plant in the Aroid family. Few of these plants exist in cultivation and they bloom rarely and only under special conditions.

On the extremely infrequent occasion that a titan arum comes into flower, the intense, foul odor, emitted from a tall spike of small, crowded flowers, lasts just a few days.

One of the objectives of next year�s symposium is to promote Rafflesia and Amorphophallus as botanical treasures, said Sofi, who is also the chairperson of the symposium organizing committee.

 

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