The World's Smallest Giant Flower Discovered in the Philippines

First Posted: Feb 29, 2016 02:02 PM EST

Scientists have tracked down the world's smallest giant flower. Researchers have recently uncovered a dwarf version of the parasitic plant genus Rafflesia that has a diameter of only 9.73 centimeters.

Most plants in this genus are huge. In fact, there are some species that reach up to a meter and a half in diameter. In this case, though, the Rafflesia flower was tiny.

"Raflessia 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," said Edwino S. Fernando, one of the researchers, in a news release. "Thus, they are entirely dependent on their host plants for water and nutrients."

The new species is named Rafflesia consueloae, and can be found from Luzon Island in the Philippine archipelago. It's actually the sixth species from Luzon Island, and has been classivied as critically endangered, based on IUCN criteria. It has less than a 100 square kilometer extend of occurrence with its two small populations.

Protecting this recently-discovered species is important. Some local people in the area hunt wildlife within the area, and forest fires are likely in the dry season, which may affect the survival of this particular species of giant flower.

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