Discover the Rafflesia in Malaysia
The Biggest Flower You Will Ever See – The Rafflesia
The calls of exotic birds echo through the trees and the sweat drips down the back of your neck as you make your way through the thick and humid jungles of Gunung Gading National Park in Malaysian Borneo, Sarawak. You can hear the distant sound of waterfalls rushing and the hot tropical sunshine comes through the thick rainforest canopy in bright streams.
You push back the leaves to reveal a very strange sight indeed. An enormous fleshy flower bloom, as large as a truck tyre, sits heavily in the underbrush. As you approach it you can hear the buzz of insects circling the open bloom, measuring nearly a metre in width. The soft and supple petals of the flower bloom are a deep purplish red in colour, like a huge pair of lips. This is the Rafflesia – the largest flower in the world and a truly memorable experience for all those lucky enough to see it.
The Rafflesia looks like something out of a science fiction film or a Doctor Who episode, a bizarrely enlarged floral fungus in an unearthly hue. Weighing up to 22 pounds, it is the heaviest flower on the planet and scientists believe that it has been around for more than 60 million years.
Rare Flower Blooms
Each rafflesia flower blooms for only three to five days per year. Why are the blooms so rare? The answer is that very specific conditions must exist for the rafflesia to bloom. First of all, a type of grape vine called the Tetrastigma must become infected with a specific parasite as this is the only vine in the world that will host the type of endoparasite that creates rafflesia blooms. When a tiny bud appears on the vine, this bud will swell into a ball and will take approximately one year to eventually burst into a rafflesia flower.
This is why it is such a rare experience to see a rafflesia flower, as they might bloom unexpectedly at any point throughout the year and their blooms will only last less than one week before they start to decay. The most common areas to see Rafflesia are in the Philippines, Sumatra, Java and of course, In Malaysia in the Cameron Highlands and Borneo. The flowers can be seen on the slopes of Mount Kota Kinabalu, within the interior of Sabah and at Gunung Gading National Park in Sarawak.
If you would love to see this strange and fascinating flower up close, why not take one of our Malaysia tour packages? Our guides are experts on the local area and they will know exactly when and where to find a Rafflesia flower in bloom. They will take you on fascinating trek into the jungles of Malaysia so that you can see this amazing wonder of nature.
Check out the Two Day One Night Rainforest and Beach package, which will take you into Gunung Gading Park to see the rare and beautiful Rafflesia.