The Rafflesia arnoldii is the largest and most distasteful plant in the world which can only be found in the tropical rainforests of South East Asia.
The plant was discovered on the 19th of May 1818 by Sir Stamford Raffles and Dr Joseph Arnold and was described as ‘the largest and most magnificent flower in the world’. It is a parasitic plant that has no leaves, stems nor roots of its own. Interestingly, the plant will attach itself to a host from which nutrients and water are obtained.
When in full bloom, it is able to reach up to a meter in diameter. Even the small ones are roughly the size of a dinner plate! If size wasn’t enough, the rafflesia was designed to attract many small visitors (such as carrion flies) with its unpleasant odor of rotting meat.
In Thailand, the buds and blooms of the rafflesia flowers are considered a delicacy while others in southeast Asia believe it to have medicinal powers. In Northern Borneo, many believe that drinking the flower after childbirth will help flush out the placenta and restore the figure.