Flower Power


The world's largest single flower (as opposed to a cluster of flowers) has the scientific name Rafflesia arnoldii. Goodness knows why scientists favour such tongue twisters! Fortunately the common folk always supply much more memorable and practical names and this one has been tastefully christened the corpse lily.

Why such a delightful name you ask? Perhaps it grows near graveyards, you may hopefully suggest. Nope. That's just not a sufficiently disgusting explaination. The actual reason is it smells like rotting flesh so it can attract flies for pollination.

It smells bad not just literally, but metaphorically too. The plant of this flower has no observable leaves, stem or roots. It doesn't even have chlorophyll, so it can't produce it's own nutrition. So how does it survive then?

According to Wikipedia, it is a parasite that gets its nutrition and water from vines of the genus Tetrastigma, which grow only in primary (undisturbed) rainforests. I told you it smelled bad.

The bloom survives for about 7 days before wilting away. The flower is endemic to the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo and is one of the 3 national flowers of Indonesia. Nina has some fascinating details to share about its size and weight that puts Nana in his place for his vindictive remarks. Read on to find out all about it.


You can read Lavanya's take here.

Tags: family, Nina and Nana, kids, humor, biology, plants, science, learn