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一朵“最小”又“最大”的花(英文)

摘要:科学家在菲律宾吕宋岛发现新的“大王花”物种Rafflesia consueloae。大王花是世界上最大的花,而Rafflesia consueloae是至今发现的最小的大王花,直径仅约9.7厘米。

The Sumatra rain forests of Indonesia are home to the world’s largest flower, the iconic “corpse flower” that measures three feet wide, weighs 15 pounds and reeks of rotting flesh.

The red flower above is that plant’s newly discovered tiny cousin. Thankfully, it smells like coconut.

Researchers from two universities in the Philippines reported the existence of Rafflesia consueloae — officially the smallest of the world’s “giant” flowers — Thursday in the journal PhytoKeys. At around 3.8 inches in diameter, it’s about the size of a softball.

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They discovered it on a mountain site on Luzon Island in the Philippines through what Perry Ong, a biologist and an author of the study, described as a serendipitous event.

Two years ago one of Dr. Ong’s colleagues was walking through what was once a thriving tropical rain forest, north of Manila, that had since suffered heavy deforestation. When he looked down, after tripping over some decaying leaves, he uncovered the strange flower.

“The discovery of a new species of Rafflesia is very important as it shows that just because an area is degraded does not mean it should be written off,” Dr. Ong said in an email. “Many hidden treasures like the Rafflesia consueloae are waiting to be discovered, appreciated and protected.”

Rafflesia is the 31st species of giant flower ever documented. It is a parasitic plant, like its siblings. In order to survive it leeches water and nutrients off the roots of a vine. The team’s next steps are to use cameras to monitor how the flower’s tiny seeds break through the thick vines and grow.

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