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Named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the leader of the expedition, Rafflesia was found in the Indonesian rain forest by an Indonesian guide working for Dr. Joseph Arnold in 1818.

Rafflesia is a rare and vulnerable flower, it has approximately 39 species of Rafflesia currently recognised in Malesia - Philippines, Thailand, Sumatra, Malay Peninsula, Borneo and Java. Rafflsia is an official state flower of Indonesia, Sabah state in Malaysia, also for the Surat Thani Province, Thailand.

The plant has no stems, leaves or true roots. It is an endoparasite of vines in the genus Tetrastigma (Vitaceae), spreading its absorptive organ, the haustorium, inside the tissue of the vine. The only part of the plant that can be seen outside the host vine is the five-petaled flower.

The flower may be as big as 100 centimetres in diameter, and weigh up to 10 kilograms, for some species such as Rafflesia arnoldii.  




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