Sunday, August 12, 2007
- Lowland forests in
. In Sabah and Malaysia Sarawak, also reported from highland areas
- Seven out of fifteen species worldwide of Rafflesia can be found in
R.cantleyi and R.kerrii are found in Peninsular Malaysia whereas R.arnoldii, R. pricei, R. keithii, R. tuan-mudae and R. tengku-adlinii in Sarawak and
Sabah. R.kerrii, R. keithi, R. tuan-mudae and R. tengku-adlinii are endemic to . Malaysia
- The world’s largest flower weighing about 9 kg and almost 1 meter wide
- Totally dependent on one particular vine called Tetrastigma (related to the grapevine)
- The Rafflesia is a disembodied flower. A rootless, leafless and stemless parasite, it drains nourishment and gains physical support from its host vine. Its only body outside the flower consists of strands of fungus-like tissue that grow inside the Tetrastigma vine. It first manifests itself as a tiny bud on the vine's stem.
- Over a period of 12 months, it swells to a cabbage-like head that bursts around midnight under the cover of a rainy night to reveal this startling, lurid-red flower. Beauty turns beastly in only a few days. The Rafflesia only flowers for 5 to 6 days, before the petals blacken and the flower withers. The "flowering beast" begins to smell like rotting meat, attracting blue bottle flies for pollination.
- Most species are highly localised and are therefore vulnerable to extinction because of habitat disturbance and host cutting from activities such as land clearing, logging, and ethnobotanical collecting. The first two activities are important in threatening the Bornean species, while in the peninsular over-collecting by local people who sell the buds for medicine is apparently the greatest threat.
· Because of its rarity, knowledge of the biology and ecology of Rafflesia has been slow to accumulate. Even today, little is known about its reproductive biology and distribution, which in itself poses many problems for its conservation.
· As Rafflesia is found in only a handful of localities, its long-term survival is now seriously threatenend by the depletion of the Malaysian rainforest.
· Recent successes from
· Several areas where the Rafflesia spp. are protected includes