One Huge, Stinky Flowered_rafflesia

More bizarre than beautiful, the Rafflesia flower I had journeyed halfway around the world to see blazed before me. Its five brilliant red petal-like lobes formed a circle a meter in diameter. In place of the tissue-thin petals of a rose were thick, fragile flaps rather like the flesh of a mushroom in texture. The flower’s opening was bordered by a thin-walled diaphragm, which was probably concentrating the odor of rotting flesh that had attracted a buzz of filth flies. Despite the smell, I counted myself lucky. Botanists from around the world make special pilgrimages to the rain forests of southeastern Asia hoping to see these extraordinary blossoms. But, more often than not, their quest fails. The plants are scattered and hard to reach, and their blooming periods are short and unpredictable. Read more



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