American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various parasitic plants of the genus Rafflesia of tropical Asia, having small, brownish, scalelike leaves and fleshy, apetalous, foul-smelling flowers of various sizes. The species R. arnoldii has the largest flowers among all flowering plants, often measuring up to 1 meter (approximately 40 inches) in diameter.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A genus of apetalous parasitic plants of the order Cytinaceæ and type of tribe Rafflesieæ, characterized by a perianth of five large entire and fleshy imbricated lobes, numerous stigmas, and globose many-chambered anthers, each opening by a single pore, which form a ring at the revolute top of a column rising in the center of the flower. The flowers are diœcious, and the pistillate ones contain an ovary with a labyrinth of small cells and numerous ovules. The 4 species are natives of hot and damp jungles in the Malay archipelago. The whole plant consists of a single flower, without leaves or proper stem, growing out from the porous root or stem of species of Vitis (Cissus), at a time when the leaves and flowers of the foster-plant have withered. The flower of the parasite protrudes as a knob from the bark at first, and enlarges for some months, resembling before opening a close cabbage, and remaining fully expanded only a few days. It exhales an odor of tainted meat, securing crossfertilization by aid of the flies thus attracted to it. The flower reaches 3 inches or more in diameter in R. Rochusseni (valued by the Javanese for astringent and styptic properties), 6 inches in others, and 2 feet in R. Patma. R. Arnoldi has long been famed for its size, greatly exceeding the Victoria lily (23 inches), and even exceeding the Aristolochia Goldieana (a specimen of which at Kew, March, 1890, was 28 inches long and 16 broad). The first flower of R. Arnoldi found measured 3 feet across its flat circular top, and weighed about 15 pounds; the roundish calyxlobes were each a foot long, and in places an inch thick; and the globular central cup was a foot across and held about 6 quarts. The fruit ripens into a chestnut brown and truncated nut, about 5 inches thick, with irregularly furrowed and broken surface, and containing thousands of hard, curiously appendaged and lacunose seeds. The flower is flesh-colored and mottled pink and yellow within, and with brown or bluish scales beneath. It is called
ambun-ambunor wonder-wonder by the Malays, and kru but, a name which they also give to another gigantic plant which grows with it, the ovoid Amorphophallus Titanum.
- n. botany Any of several large parasitic plants, of the genus Rafflesia, from South East Asia, that have no roots, stems or leaves; Rafflesia arnoldii has the largest known flower with a diameter of over a yard.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bot.) A genus of stemless, leafless plants, living parasitically upon the roots and stems of grapevines in Malaysia. The flowers have a carrionlike odor, and are very large, in one species (Rafflesia Arnoldi) having a diameter of two or three feet.
- New Latin, genus name, after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“On the rainforest floor, rafflesia is hidden by a dense carpet of taller vegetation.”
“Rather than pulling water and nutrients from the ground, rafflesia attaches to and sucks life from grapevines.”
“Since rafflesia depends solely on a host for nutrients, and not photosynthesis, it lacks chloroplasts.”
“Morphological misfitsFirst identified 180 years ago in Sumatra by naturalist Sir Stamford Raffles, rafflesia has baffled botanists trying to pinpoint its close relatives.”
“That is about the most unique picture I have seen of a rafflesia...so high up the tree.”
“It would probably be something ugly, like a rafflesia, or KL Tower.”
“If the final cadence of the book is a dagger thrust the prelude is a subtle poison, rafflesia, a”
“The poisons of rafflesia, muscarine, and orsere are introduced in his fictions; somewhere he devotes an essay to toxicology.”
“explosion quadrants rafflesia, hibiscus anchor with wave fish hooks eyes of a needles fork crossroads borders”
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