Another category we could have chosen is “Biggest Flower”. This is a photo of a rafflesia flower (rafflesia kerrii), which is one of the biggest flowers in the world; some specimens have been measured at more than 1 metre wide! If you would like to see the rafflesia for yourself, you can visit Khao Sok between November and March.
The rafflesia is a parasite and grows on vines on the forest floor. There are several places to see them in Khao Sok but you will have to go with a local guide so that they can take you to the best spot – the flower only blooms for a few days before rotting away.
There is a common misconception that the flower is carnivorous but it actually attracts insects for pollination and not for food. Another misconception is that this flower has a very strong smell. Whilst it does have a faint smell, it is not as strong as people think and so please don’t be tempted to get too close to try and smell it – this is an endangered species and you may accidentally damage its host vine or the flowers themselves. The flowers are found in clusters but do not all bloom on the same day, so you have to walk very carefully so as not to step on the blossoms.
Sometimes the flowers are collected for medicinal purposes. This is an unfortunate threat to many rare species and we ask that you do not participate in any kind of rare species trade – be it medicinal flowers, insects in showcases or animals in the exotic pet trade. Sometimes these species are difficult to breed in captivity and so poachers can sell them for a high price by taking them from the wild. Please don’t support this industry!