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Bengkulu's white rafflesia may be 'new species'

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, July 3, 2018  /  06:03 am
Bengkulu's white rafflesia may be 'new species'

According to Antara, the flower was 60 centimeters in diameter and was white, instead of the usual red. (Kompas.com/File)

A white rafflesia, a foul-smelling parasitic flower of the Rafflesia genus that is locally known as bunga bangkai (corpse flower), has been found in a forest that borders the villages of Pagar and Napal Melintang in Seluma regency, Bengkulu.

According to Antara, the flower was 60 centimeters in diameter and was white, instead of the usual red.

Raffles Yolanda, a resident of Bunut Tinggi village, was among those who ventured to look at the flower. She said that the flower was pale in color, and tended more toward white than pink.

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Raffles said that she asked the local residents where to find the flower, and had to cross a 100-meter-wide creek that flowed between the villages of Pagar and Napa Melintang to get to its location.

Agus Susatya, a professor of forestry and Rafflesia expert at the University of Bengkulu, said that the white rafflesia was possibly a new species, and that rafflesia were generally red or red-orange.

Agus said that he had never come across an albino or discolored Rafflesia before.

Five Rafflesia species have been identified in Bengkulu: the Rafflesia arnoldii, Rafflesia bengkuluensis, Rafflesia gadutensis, Rafflesia hasselti and Rafflesia kemumu. (jes/asw)