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Minggu, 12 Juni 2011

Description Of Raflesia Arnoldi

Rafflesia, among the world's largest flowers, belong to the family Rafflesiaceae. The plant family Rafflesiaceae has eight genera which includes the genus Rafflesia. Rafflesia arnoldi, that grows up to 150 cm in diameter, is the largest flower in the world. It was discovered by Sir Stamford Raffles and Dr Joseph Arnold on 19 May 1818.

A. Origin and distribution

Raffles and Arnold were touring the west coast of Sumatra in Borneo around the Manna river when their guide, excited and surprised, came to them with the news of having seen a very huge flower. The gigantic flower was named Rafflesia arnoldi by Raffles to commemorate his friendship with Arnold. Rafflesia sightings were reported much earlier though. Louis Auguste Deschamp, a French surgeon-naturalist, reported having seen the Rafflesia in 1797 in Java. Prior to both discoveries, the aborigines who had known about its presence were using Rafflesia for medicinal purposes. Since 1821, 24 Rafflesia species names have been published though not all of them are taxonomically resolved and identified.
Rafflesia is found in tropical rainforests of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Philippines. It occurs only in certain habitats as a parasite on the Tetrastigma species of woody vines.
B. Description
The first description of Rafflesia arnoldi was given by Robert Brown. Taxonomic classification of plant family Rafflesiaceae has not been thoroughly decided as yet. At least 55 species in eight genera however have been identified. The genera of Rafflesiaceae plant family are Apodanthes, Bdallophyton, Cytinus, Mitrastemon, Pilostyles, Rafflesia, Rhizanthes and Sapria. Since all the plants of this family are parasitic, they therefore do not have any roots, stems or leaves. Individual flowers or buds simply sprout on the species of Tetrastigma woody vines. They lack chlorophyll. Some flowers are monoecius, with both sexes in the same flower. All flowers of the family Rafflesiaceae may not carry the same parts and traits.
C. Usage and potential

Food: In Thailand, young buds of the flower are eaten as a delicacy.
Medicine: In Peninsular Malaysia, Rafflesia buds are used by women to stop internal bleeding and shrink the womb after childbirth. Men use it as an energy drink or an aphrodisiac.

*Junita Torro Datu*