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(răflē`zhə), any of a genus (Rafflesia) of parasitic plants native to the rain forests of the Malay peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo, and the Philippines. The plants have no roots, stems, or leaves, consisting of threadlike growths on the tissues of the vine that hosts them. They produce large buds that may take 10 months to open into huge five-petaled flowers, which in the largest species (Rafflesia arnoldii) measure a yard (1 m) or so across. The flowers of most species have the distinctive odor of rotting flesh. All species are endangered or threatened. Rafflesia species are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Rafflesiales, family Rafflesiaceae.



a genus of plants of the family Rafflesiaceae. The plants parasitize the roots and stems of a number of tropical plants of the family Vitaceae, especially the genus Cissus, that grow in the tropical rain forests of Indonesia and the Philippines. The Rafflesia lack roots and leafy stems. The flat, spreading flowers form on a host plant and consist of five very large, fleshy perianth bracts, which originate from a central cup-shaped area that is surrounded by a thick ring.

There are 12 species of Rafflesia. The best-known is the monster flower (R. arnoldi), which grows on Sumatra. Its flower is the largest known flower in the world. The flower bud resembles a cabbage head, and an open flower reaches a diameter of 1 m and a weight of 4–6 kg. The flowers emit a strong fetid odor that attracts flies for pollination.

References in periodicals archive ?
By Rafflesia standards it's small--a diameter of up to 25 centimetres--but its uniform orange-red colouration is very distinctive.
The facts are interesting such as the rafflesia flower is the world's biggest flower and smells of rotten meat
The flower with the world's largest bloom is the Rafflesia arnoldii.
There are endemic flora and fauna with species like Rafflesia located within Lata Jarum.
Technically, the world's largest individual flower is the Rafflesia, while the Titan Arum consists of a cluster of many flowers.
Mitochondrial DNA sequences reveal the photosynthetic relatives of Rafflesia, the world's largest flower.
Among her bizarre 2007-08 Icelandic series of collages, we see a blond-haired girl clutching a kitten while a huge, parasitic Rafflesia flower blooms malevolently out of her mouth (Frioa og Snotra), based on local stories about elves switching out human babies for their own.
Also on display will be previously unpublished documents which reveal that Raffles sent a specimen of Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world discovered by him, to eminent Liverpool writer and botanist William Roscoe, described as "Liverpool's greatest citizen and founder of Liverpool culture.
Garbutt, a wildlife author and photographer, and Prudente, a conservationist and photographer, describe plants such as the parasitic Rafflesia, one species of which bears the world's largest flower.
Harvard scientists tested the DNA of the Rafflesia arnoldii to
This becomes clear with Laila's analysis of the plant Rafflesia arnoldi during which she criticises how plants are named after the people who claimed to have discovered them.