Rafflesia Arnoldii

Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia comprised of more than 17,000 islands across the archipelago. This large country even has 3 different time zones and various local climate from west to the east, but with tropical climate generally. Located between the Indian and the Pacific Ocean, Indonesia is situated in the ring of fire and it made this country so rich in geographic landscapes. Due to its location and the climate, Indonesia has become one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and is a priority for global conservation.

As one of the most heavily forested places on Earth, Indonesia is home to approximately 11% of the world’s flowering plants, 13% of the world’s mammals, and is home to many rare and endemic flora as well as fauna across the nation. One of the most famous flora of Indonesia is Rafflesia arnoldii, the largest individual flower in the world! The genus Rafflesia can be found in certain countries in Asia such as Thailand, Philippines with its Rafflesia manillana (the smallest species in genus Rafflesia), and Indonesia with the largest species in Sumatra, Borneo or Kalimantan, and Bengkulu.

rafflesia arnoldii
Photo by Adi Idham Siregar via @adiidhams on Instagram

Rafflesia Arnoldii is a parasitic plant which absorbs nutrients from its host. Interestingly it has no leaves, stems, roots and only has nutrients. Its distinctive feature is the five huge petals with the diameter reaching 100 centimeters and its weight can reach 10 kilograms! The petals are red with dots and its texture resembles leather, its center is like a bowl that swallows flies and insects for its nutrients. This flower is rare and hard to find! 

rafflesia arnoldii indonesia
Photo by Adi Idham Siregar via @adiidhams on Instagram

Rafflesia is hard to predict where it’s going to grow. Some say after heavy rainfall, but nothing can actually forecast it. It also takes up to 9 months from seed to bloom into the large flower. After long pollination, Rafflesia only blooms for a few days, with a maximum of one week. The flower has a tentacle-like branch that emits a rotten smell. 

rafflesia arnoldii flower
Photo by Fitria Pranandari via @pranandarifitri on Instagram

In Indonesia, Rafflesia arnoldii has become the national flower due to its high value. Its growing period cannot be predicted easily as this flower grow sporadically. In Java, the famous place to see the magnificent Rafflesia arnoldii is in Bogor Botanical Garden. In the past,  within the Pangandaran area, the peak season for Rafflesia is on June, July to August according to the Rafflesia researcher from LIPI. Nowadays, it’s getting harder to predict its season. In Bogor Botanical Garden or Kebun Raya Bogor, there are 3 kinds of Rafflesia: Rafflesia patma, Rafflesia arnoldii, and Rafflesia rochusseni. Usually, in Bogor Botanical Garden, there will be an announcement that a Rafflesia has bloomed perfectly and you can see them all over the news. 

bogor botanical garden
Photo by Mass Much on Unsplash

Plan your visit to Bogor Botanical Garden in Bogor Regency, home to more than 20,000 specimens of tropical plants including endangered plants such as Rafflesia and corpse flower. Corpse flower and Rafflesia is not the same flower although many people have been misinterpreting it as the same thing. The corpse flower’s scientific name is Amorphophallus titanium. Be amazed at all of the collections and the history behind this beautiful garden which has been initiated since 1817 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Thomas Stamford Raffles is also the first person to find Rafflesia arnoldii with scientist Joseph Arnold in Bengkulu, thus its name is the combination of those two.

While visiting Bogor Botanical Garden, you can relax and learn many things about the conservation site. In this garden, you can see and study as many as 5000 specimens of trees from all over the world and 3000 orchid varieties. Don’t forget to pack your picnic lunch with your family and have a nice picnic in this area of lush green fields. Or if you have been searching for a nice spot to exercise outdoors, you can jog, yoga or ride a bike around the area. Visit Bogor Botanical Garden in the morning to enjoy the breezy weather of Bogor. 

After a nice stroll in the park with your family or by yourself for a nice me-time weekend, stop at the Grand Garden Café to feast on the panoramic view of the vast beautiful garden while sipping a cup of coffee or tea.

Feel the urge to leave the bustling city of Jakarta? Don’t hesitate to rent a car to go to Bogor Botanical Garden! Or you can visit Bengkulu, Sumatra, with just only one click away!

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