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Friday, August 10, 2012

World's Largest & Smallest Flower

The flower with the world's largest bloom is the Rafflesia arnoldii. This rare flower is found in the rainforests of Indonesia. It can grow to be 3 feet across and weigh up to 15 pounds! It is a parasitic plant, with no visible leaves, roots, or stem. 

 
It attaches itself to a host plant to obtain water and nutrients. When in bloom, the Rafflesia emits a repulsive odor, similar to that of rotting meat. This odor attracts insects that pollinate the plant. Unlike any other plant, the flower is a total parasite. It is devoid of any leaves or stem, and depends completely on its host plant for water and nutrients.

Another enormous flower found in Indonesia is the Amorphophallus titanum, or Titan arum. It is also known as the "corpse flower" for its unpleasant odor. Like the Rafflesia, the Titan emits the smell of rotting flesh to attract pollinators. 

 
Technically, the Titan arum is not a single flower. It is a cluster of many tiny flowers, called an inflorescence. The Titan arum has the largest unbranched inflorescence of all flowering plants. The plant can reach heights of 7 to 12 feet and weigh as much as 170 pounds!

Water-meal is one of the duckweeds in the family Lemnaceae that contains some 38 species of the smallest and simplest flowering plants. The plant itself averages 1/42” long and 1/85” wide or about the size of one candy sprinkle. 

It can weigh about 1/190,000 of an ounce, equivalent to two grains of table salt. They are very hard to see! Imagine if you tried to fill a thimble with them, it is estimated that you would need some 5000 plants!
Each Wolffia flower consists of a single pistil and stamen; it also produces the world’s smallest fruit, called a utricle. The plant is found in quiet freshwater lakes or marshes with species worldwide. 

Since the plants have no roots, they can easily float on the surface of the water, where they resemble cornmeal. Water-meal is sometimes used in cold-water aquaria since it is easy to propagate.

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