ICTS – Innovation Center for Tropical Science

Innovation Centre for

Tropical Sciences

First Ever Bloom: Rare Rafflesia Arnoldii Thrives Outside Natural Habitat

For the first time ever, researchers have managed to cultivate the Rafflesia arnoldii R.Br, an iconic giant flower native to the wild forests of Bengkulu, Sumatra, outside its natural habitat. This rare parasitic bloom, renowned for its massive size and unique characteristics, made a brief three-day appearance at the Bogor Botanical Gardens.

Rafflesia arnoldii, which is endemic to Sumatra and boasts only 33 species worldwide, holds the prestigious title of National Rare Flower, as decreed by the Presidential Decree of Indonesia Number 4 of 1993. Additionally, this charismatic flower is protected under Government Regulation Number 4 of 1999 and is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Discovered in 1818 by a guide working with Dr. Joseph Arnold during an expedition led by Thomas Stamford Raffles, the flower was named after these two explorers. Efforts to conserve and grow this rare species outside its native habitat have been ongoing since its discovery but had not seen success until now.

In 2004, Sofi Mursidawati, a dedicated researcher and curator at the Bogor Botanical Gardens, along with her team, began a long-term project to cultivate the Rafflesia arnoldii outside its natural environment. After 16 years of perseverance, their efforts paid off when the flower finally bloomed on September 12, 2022.

No photo description available.

(private document)

Despite the breakthrough, the bloom was not as large as those in the wild, and several challenges remain. “Rafflesia arnoldii is an iconic Indonesian species. We faced many challenges in conserving this giant parasitic flower outside its habitat,” Sofi told Kompas.com on Thursday (15/9/2022). One major challenge was replicating the flower’s unique ecosystem, essential for its growth.

The Rafflesia arnoldii in the Bogor Botanical Gardens grows on the Tetrastigma lanceolarium (Roxb.) tree, which serves as its host. Despite creating an ecosystem similar to its natural habitat, the flower only managed to bloom for three days. The bloom, measuring less than 60 cm in diameter, was likely affected by the heavy rainfall and high humidity levels in Bogor, causing water to flood the inside of the flower and preventing it from blooming fully.

This remarkable event marks a significant milestone in the conservation of the Rafflesia arnoldii and offers hope for future efforts to protect this rare and unique flower.

source :
Rafflesia arnoldii Mekar di Kebun Raya Bogor, Apa Tantangan Peneliti Tumbuhkan Padma Raksasa Ini? Halaman all – Kompas.com

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