Rafflesia arnoldii

Botanic Superlatives: The Largest Flower

February 18, 2011
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Despite its efforts to keep a low profile—lurking, as it tends to do, deep in Southeast Asia's undisturbed rainforests—the Rafflesia arnoldii has international notoriety. Its detractors might call it a hulking, smelly parasite, and they would not be wrong. Also known as the "stinking corpse lily," the infamous plant blooms with the world's largest individual flowers that give off a noxious odor that happens to attract carrion beetles and flies (the plant's preferred jungle-dwelling pollinators).