Definitions for rafflesiarəˈfli ʒə
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Any of several large parasitic plants, of the genus Rafflesia, from South East Asia, that have no roots, stems or leaves; Rafflesia arnoldii has the largest known flower with a diameter of over a yard.
a genus of stemless, leafless plants, living parasitically upon the roots and stems of grapevines in Malaysia. The flowers have a carrionlike odor, and are very large, in one species (Rafflesia Arnoldi) having a diameter of two or three feet
Origin: [NL. Named from its discoverer, Sir S. Raffles.]
Rafflesia is a genus of parasitic flowering plants. It contains approximately 28 species, all found in southeastern Asia, on the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, Thailand and the Philippines. Rafflesia was found in the Indonesian rain forest by an Indonesian guide working for Dr. Joseph Arnold in 1818, and named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the leader of the expedition. It was discovered even earlier by Louis Deschamps in Java between 1791 and 1794, but his notes and illustrations, seized by the British in 1803, were not available to western science until 1861. The plant has no stems, leaves or true roots. It is an holoparasite of vines in the genus Tetrastigma, spreading its absorptive organ, the haustorium, inside the tissue of the vine. The only part of the plant that can be seen outside the host vine is the five-petaled flower. In some species, such as Rafflesia arnoldii, the flower may be over 100 centimetres in diameter, and weigh up to 10 kilograms. Even the smallest species, R. baletei, has 12 cm diameter flowers. The flowers look and smell like rotting flesh, hence its local names which translate to "corpse flower" or "meat flower". The foul odor attracts insects such as flies, which transport pollen from male to female flowers. Most species have separate male and female flowers, but a few have hermaphroditic flowers. Little is known about seed dispersal. However, tree shrews and other forest mammals eat the fruits and disperse the seeds. Rafflesia is the official state flower of Indonesia, the Sabah state in Malaysia, and of the Surat Thani Province, Thailand.
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