The largest flower in the world smells like death

The Indonesian Wildlife Service announced a new record - the largest flower in the world was found near Lake Maninjau. It belongs to the species R. tuan-mudae (Rafflesia tuan-mudae), this particular specimen has a diameter of 111 cm.Which is 4 cm more than that of the previous record holder, it is also from this species.

Experts have reason to believe that in both cases we are talking about the same plant. Firstly, the place where the flower was found is almost identical, at least, it is the same forest near the lake. Secondly, Rafflesia blooms extremely rarely, about once every 7-9 months, and the rest of the time the plant practically does not manifest itself in any way, hiding among the roots of the host plant. The fact is that Rafflesia is a parasite, which is not profitable to interfere with the activity of the host plant.

But during the flowering period, Rafflesia powerfully declares itself with a characteristic smell of death and decay - an unbearable cadaveric aroma. It is created by the substance dimethyl disulfide, which attracts flies and other corpse-eating insects. Rafflesia only blooms for about a week and cannot compete with other flowers for the attention of pollinators, so evolution has endowed it with the ability to attract "unattractive" creatures with a disgusting stench. They are scavengers and help the unusual flower to reproduce.

Interestingly, Rafflesia is not alone in using this strategy. There is Skunk Cabbage in the world, which, as the name suggests, smells like skunk. And also Hydnora africana, which smells like feces. There is also Titan Arum, another "cadaverous" plant from Indonesia, but it only blooms once every few years.