While surveying reptiles and amphibian inside the 5,000 hectare Aurora Memorial Park in Quezon, National Museum of the Philippines’ team of biologist and biodiversity experts found the world’s largest flower, Rafflesia manillana.
Led by Dr. Edwin Tadiosa, the team was accompanied by Forester Max Milan Jr. as they surveyed the thick forest of Siera Madre mountains.
Considered critically endangered , the Raffleesia manillana found in the thick forest of Quezon was in full bloom, with a diameter of 17 centimeters.
Rafflesia manillana is a genus of tropical parasitic plants that do not contain a chlorophyll, and therefore, incapable of photosynthesis. It is an open flower, 11 to 16 cm in diameter, with 5 perigone lobes, dotted with warts.
Diaphragm incurved, 7 to 12 cm across, upper surface whitish in bud and in newly opened flower, turning brownish. Windows in lower surface round, rarely coalesced. Ramenta numerous, with short stalk and rounded top. Disk with minute processes. Male and female flowers in separate plants.
Also called as corpse flower, it has a stinky odor with it’s scent designed to smell like rotting carrion to attract flies.
Rafflesia manillana can also be found in Mt. Natib in Bataan, Mt. Makiling in Laguna, Mt. Labo in Bicol, and in the lowland forests in Basey, Samar.
Seventeen estimated Rafflesia species can be found throughout Southeast Asia, wherein 11 recognized species can be found in the Philippines, four of which are found in Luzon.
“The presence of such flower in the area only proves the rich biodiversity in Aurora’s forests,” Dichoso said.
Aurora Memorial National Park, a protected area, is home to 19 species of amphibians, 30 species of reptiles, and eight species of birds, including the endangered Philippine Eagle.
Two species of forest mice of the genus Apomys were also discovered in the Mingan Mountains in Aurora in 2011.
The biodiversity expedition found at least 304 species of plants and 142 species of animals thriving in the 17,000-hectare forests in Central Luzon’s tallest mountain, including six other plant species that can only be found in Luzon.