By David DeFranza, TreeHugger
For millions of years, flowers have dotted the landscape. Their simple manipulative evolutionary innovation—using color and scent to trick insects and animals into doing their bidding—has persisted and proven to be highly effective. Today, flowering plants are among the most diverse classes of life on the planet.
Far from the garden varieties, these massive flowers show just how far the adaptations have been pushed.
Among all of the large flowers, Rafflesia arnoldi produces the largest single bloom. Native to rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia, the flower can be up to three feet in diameter and has weighed in at more than 24 pounds.
More than its size, however, Rafflesia is known for its scent. Dubbed the “corpse flower,” the large bloom reeks of rotting meat—an adaptation it has developed to attract the flies that help pollinate the plant.
The unusual flower only grows on the tendrils of the Tetrastigma vine, which in turn only grows in pristine rainforest—meaning Rafflesia arnoldii‘s habitat is rapidly disappearing.