Situated in Malaysia, The Cameron Highlands is one of the country’s most extensive hill stations. It is home to plenty of vegetation, fresh as well as cool air, and the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia arnoldii. To witness the Rafflesia fully bloomed is a very rare event. This unisexual flower opens up after 9 months and only lives for 5-7 days.
This flower is one of the 28 species that belongs to the genus Rafflesia, which is now becoming endangered. It is a huge five-petaled flower that can weigh up to 10kg! Interestingly, this parasitic flower has no leaves, stems, and roots. To obtain nutrients and water, the Rafflesia attaches itself to a host plant called Tetrastigma.
The flower is notorious for its bad smell that aims to attract flies for pollination purposes.
While we happened to be visiting the Cameron Highlands, we were informed there might we a possibility to see a fully bloomed Rafflesia. We trekked for a few hours in the beautiful rainforest, before came upon some buds of the Rafflesia.
This bud was likely to bloom very soon.
Eventually, we were lucky enough to spot a fully bloomed Rafflesia! The flower was indeed huge! The redish brown petals of the Rafflesia were peppered with white freckles.
The trek through the rainforest was definitely a worthwhile adventure. We got the rare opportunity to not only see the fully bloomed Rafflesia, but also its earlier and later stages. We got a sense of the complete cycle from the buds to the bloomed flower and eventually to the dying Rafflesia.