Some of the world’s giant flowers, those of the parasitic plant genus Rafflesia, can reach up to a meter and a half in diameter.
Therefore, what could be more impressive about them are ‘dwarves’ such as the record-breaking one that was recently discovered by scientists from theUniversity of the Philippines Diliman and the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Its average diameter is only 9.73 cm and has been named Rafflesia consueloae. The study is published in the open-access journal PhytoKeys.
Curiously enough, the discovery happened after a field assistant accidentally tripped over a pile of forest litter to expose a decayed flower. Later on, lead researcher Prof Perry S. Ong would describe the novel finding as “serendipitous”.
The new species is named Rafflesia consueloae in honor of Ms Consuelo ‘Connie’ Rufino Lopez, lifelong partner of Filipino industrialist Oscar M. Lopez. “With her demure, but strong personality traits, which Rafflesia consueloae also possesses, she provides the inspiration for Mr Lopez’s pursuit of biodiversity conservation in the Philippines,” Prof Ong says.
“Rafflesia flowers are unique in that they are entirely parasitic on roots and stems of specific vines in the forests and have no distinct roots, stems, or leaves of their own,” explains co-author Prof Edwino S. Fernando. “Thus, they are entirely dependent on their host plants for water and nutrients.”
Source and image: EurekAlert