A species of the world’s largest flower
One interesting bloom in the world of flora is the Rafflesia. This flower grows as big as a cabbage head or a car tire. Aside from being unusually huge, this species is actually a parasite, growing within its host, the tetrastigma vine. Discovery of this rare plant first occurred in Sumatra in 1818, courtesy of European Thomas Stamford Raffles after whom the flower was named. Here in the Philippines, currently identified species of the Rafflesia are: R. schadenbergiana, R. manillana, R. speciosa and R. mira.
R. schadenbergiana was discovered by Gopert in Mt. Apo in Mindanao in 1882. However, said species was never seen again and thus presumed to be already extinct. R. manillana - discovered by Teschemacher - can be found in Luzon, most prominently in Mt. Makiling, Laguna and in Mt. Isarog, Bicol. R. speciosa was discovered in 2002 by Barcelona and Fernando. The species, locally known as “Uroy,” can be found in the towns of Sibalom and San Remegio, Antique. Meantime, R. mira was discovered by Filipino scientists led by Fernando and Ong in the town of Maragusan, Campostela Valley Province in Mindanao.The Rafflesia is a very sensitive living thing. Threats to its existence include rampant deforestation, mining and encroachment of communities.