Jumat, 07 Maret 2008

Indonesia, Neri Sofiyanty : Rafflesia hasseltii

Rafflesia Hall of Fame: Nery Sofiyanti

Nery Sofiyanti was born in Central Java, Indonesia. Her undergraduate project was dealing with the vegetation ecology in Dieng Plateau, Wonosobo, Central Java, which is well known with its craters, Pendowo Temples, color lake and flower farm. Beautiful scenery surrounded by valley and hills, the plateau is famous for delicious Carica papaya and mushroom chip. Nery id her Masters in the same university, Universitas Gadjah Mada, in Yogyakarta, a gudeg city. The old city of Yokja is famous for its traditional images. This is what she wrote about her Rafflesia interest:

I heard about Rafflesia when I was eight. At that time, I as well as most of Indonesian people was surprised by the blooming of the largest flower in the world, Rafflesia arnoldii from Bengkulu, Sumatera that reach up to 1.5 meter in diameter. It was widely discussed in newspaper and TV. I never had an opportunity to see that flower directly until ten years later, I got a first chance to visit Rafflesia patma site in Pangandaran, West Java. Unfortunately, there was no bloom but a small bud. The story of this Bunga Bangkai was forgotten until I met Prof. Dr. Kamarudin Mat Salleh in 2002. He is the first person who encouraged me to conduct a research on Rafflesia. Finally I continue my Ph.D on the systematics of Rafflesia hasseltii complex.

Doing a research on this unique plant is a challenge for me, but also an interesting experience. Hunting the site from Bengkulu, Riau (Sumatera), many locations in Peninsular Malaysia, to the “tail” of Borneo, were the memorable fieldworks. My dissertation is on the systematics of Rafflesia hasseltii and its allies. The detail observations show those characters vary among the flowers. Therefore, the interpretation of this complex is very difficult. The molecular approach, combined with morphological data, seem promising to answer this problem.


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