10 of the Biggest Flowering Plants in the World
They say, “The bigger the better.” And when it comes to flowers, you will always wish for the biggest bloom for your home or garden. But do you know about the flowers that are so big that they can’t be used for decoration purposes? Some of the biggest flowers in the world can’t even be grown in a garden. Interestingly, you might also not be aware of common flowers that can reach several feet tall. To eliminate your confusion, we have come up with a list of some of the biggest flowering plants in the world.
1 The Giant Padma
Giant Padma from Indonesia is the largest individual flower on Earth. It can grow over three feet in diameter and weigh up to 20 pounds.
The Giant Padma, with the botanical name Rafflesia arnoldii, is native to Indonesian rainforests and the flower with the world’s largest bloom. With over three feet in diameter and weighing up to 20 pounds, it is a parasitic plant with no stem, leaves, or roots. There are roughly 30 known species of the flower, present only in Southeast Asian rainforests. It can’t thrive outside of its native region, making it vulnerable to extinction.
Rafflesia emits an unpleasant odor, resembling that of rotting flesh, that attracts insect pollinators. It is a reddish-brown, five-petaled flower with blister-like white spots. There is a deep “well” in its middle from where vertical spikes point upward. Although the flower’s sexual organs lie inside the “well”, its main part lives inside the host.
When Rafflesia is ready to reproduce, a parasitic bud emerges from the stem or root of its host, the Tetrastigma vine. A cabbage-like head opens if the bud makes it to the next stage and eventually reveals the flower. The repulsive smell attracts the beetles and flies and they pollinate the flower. The fruit produced is like berries with numerous seeds. (1, 2, 3)
2 Titan arum
Rather than being a single flower, the Titan arum is a cluster of flowers called an “inflorescence” that can reach over 10 feet in height.
Titan arum is a herbaceous flowering plant of the Araceae family known for its unpleasant, foul-smelling inflorescence. The inflorescence can grow over 10 feet tall. The plant itself can reach seven to 12 feet in height and weigh as much as 170 pounds!
The plant is endemic to western Sumatra but is grown in botanic gardens worldwide. Its inflorescence has a fragrant spadix of flowers wrapped by a deep green spathe that is dark burgundy red on the inside.
The spadix resembles a large baguette and is hollow. It bears two rings of small flowers with the upper ring bearing the male flowers, and the lower one covered with bright red-orange carpels. Both male and female flowers are part of the same inflorescence. The male flowers open a day or two after the opening of the female flowers. This prevents the flower from self-pollinating. (1, 2)
3 Queen of the Andes
Queen of the Andes is the largest species of bromeliad. Its clusters of flowers can reach up to 13 to 26 feet, while the whole plant can reach up to 50 feet. A single Puya raimondii can produce 8,000 to 20,000 flowers in 3 months.
Puya raimondii, aka the Queen of the Andes, is native to the Andes of Bolivia and Peru and the largest species of bromeliad. A bromeliad is any tropical or subtropical plant of the American family Bromeliaceae, usually with a rosette of fleshy leaves.
The Queen of the Andes grows at altitudes 4,100 to 4,800 meters above sea level and has one of the largest flower stalks on Earth! Its massive stalk can grow over 25 feet tall and has thousands of flowers. Each creamy-white blossom is nearly two inches wide with bright orange anthers.
The inflorescence measures between 13 and 26 feet. The plant itself can grow up to 50 feet and can produce 8,000 to 20,000 flowers in a period of three months.
The Sun-resembling blooms can grow several feet tall when given ample sun, water, and space. As of 2014, the record-breaking tallest sunflower measured 30 feet, one inch, and was grown by a German native.
A sunflower, or “common sunflower,” belongs to the species Helianthus annuus whose flower head looks like the Sun. Although most sunflower varieties are grown in gardens, they have the tendency to become enormous.
The actual growth of the flower depends on its background and genetic makeup. Still, a few varieties of sunflower are considered to be one of the biggest flowers in the world. As of 2013, the tallest sunflower recorded measures 30 feet, one inch. It was grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer in Karst, Nordrhein Westfalen, Germany.
Sunflowers are the natives of North America. Although they have over 70 varieties, the two varieties that love to bloom are American Giant Sunflowers and Skyscraper Sunflowers. American Giant sunflowers can grow up to 15 feet tall and are nearly 10 inches in diameter. A skyscraper sunflower can rise high up to 12 to 14 feet and has a very big flowerhead of 14 inches across or more. (1, 2, 3)
5 Pelican Flower
Pelican flower is a fast-growing woody vine producing unusually large “heart-shaped” flowers, each 10 to 20 centimeters wide with tails up to 60 centimeters.
Aristolochia gigantea, also called the “pelican flower,” is a deciduous vine with one of the world’s biggest flowers that emits a rotting-feet-like odor. The flowers are burgundy-velvet-netted featuring ivory white veins. These heart-shaped flowers have a dark-colored center that attracts butterflies for pollination. Each flower is 10 to 20 centimeters wide and has three sections: limb, utricle, and tube.
Like Titan arum, this flower’s male and female parts are separated by time, so the flower holds its pollinators within the flower traps for a longer time. Breeding flies, after being attracted by an odor, bring in pollen and travel down the flower’s tubular part to the utricle where the reproductive organs are present. The bees pollinate the female organ and then carry away pollen when they exit. (1, 2)
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