The largest and rarest single bloom in the world grows in the rain forests of south-east Asia, and is named Rafflesia arnoldii. This flower was named after Sire Stamford Raffles and naturalist Dr. James Arnold, who discovered the flower in 1818.
There are 28 known species of this flower, all of which grow in south-east Asia, but the Rafflesia arnoldii is the largest and can grow to a diameter as big as one meter (about 3 feet) and weigh as much as 24 lbs. This flower has no leaves, no roots, and produces no chlorophyll, which is the green pigment in plants responsible for photosynthesis. This is because this flower is a parasite to the Tetrastigma vine, which is a genus of plant in the grape family. The parasite lives inside the host vine, gets all its nutrients from the vine, and is only visible when it blooms to be pollinated.
Like the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), this flower is also called the corps flower because it looks and smells of rotting flesh to attract flies to pollinate it. Most species of this plant produces male and female flowers, and flies must transport pollen from male to female flowers for seed development.
As the habitat for Rafflesia decreases successful pollination is becoming less common, and cultivation of this strange bloom has thus far been unsuccessful. So get yourself to south-east Asia to see this giant flower for yourself before it’s gone, but remember to breath through your mouth as you get close because this flower is no sweet smelling rose.