Borneo, the third largest island in the world, is home to more than 11,000 different species of flowering plants. After the monsoon season ends around March, the island comes alive with colorful blooms that make this a picturesque nature travel destination. The rafflesia is perhaps the most well-known flower in Borneo and the largest flower in the world. Lucky guests on IE’s Borneo tour  Poring Hot Springs, part of Kinabalu National Park, where the rafflesia grows.
The rafflesia can grow to be nearly three feet in diameter, a process that takes up to 10 months. Once the flower has fully bloomed, it will typically only stay open for a few days, so visitors should consider themselves lucky to see one of these world-renowned plants.
Their size makes them hard to miss, and the bright orange-red coloration makes it even easier to spot the flowers in the dense Borneo jungles. The leathery petals are mottled with wart-like specks, and the center of the flower is hollowed out with a number of light-color spikes sticking out. But don’t let the rafflesia’s beautiful blooms full you, this parasitic plant doesn’t small sweet. In fact, the plant smells so strongly of rotting flesh that the rafflesia’s local name translates to “corpse flower.”
It may be tempting to snatch up one of these monstrous flowers, but it is best to leave them be as these plants have been listed as endangered since 1997.
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|Image courtesy of emmajg  & Creative Commons|