The Jakarta Post
A Rafflesia patma bloomed in Bogor Botanical Garden in West Java on Tuesday, the 11th bloom in the garden, however, the flower is blocked by the vines of the host tetrastigma tree.
Botanical garden scientist Sofie Mursidawati told The Jakarta Post that the Rafflesia patma was the only species of Rafflesia that could grow and bloom outside its natural habitat. The giant parasite was found in an exploration by Pangandaran Nature Reserve.
Sofie said the male and female flowers had never bloomed at the same time. "It is actually crucial for regeneration that female and male flowers bloom at the same time," she said, adding that it was hard to cross pollinate the flowers in an ex-situ conservation.
The Rafflesia flowers have been grown using a grafting technique, not through seeding. "That's the only way we can [regenerate the flower]," Sofie said. "Exploration requires big funds, while our last expedition for Rafflesia arnoldii was in Bengkulu in 2007,” she added.
There are some 13 or 14 species of Rafflesia in Indonesia. The Philippines, however, has outnumbered Indonesia in discovering Rafflesia species by frequent explorations of its forests, Sofie said. (stu)