A Giant Flower's New Family

The world's largest known flower may be a relative of the poinsettia plant.

By Emily Sohn, 00:00 AM January 12, 2007

You may know someone who's taller, shorter, blonder, or more artistic than all of his or her relatives. The phenomenon can make you wonder at the strange ways in which family trees sometimes work.

Rafflesia plants present a similar puzzle. They boast the world's largest known flowers. With buds the size of basketballs and blooms that stretch 3 feet across, they can weigh up to 15 pounds. They're also among the stinkiest flowers in existence.

The rafflesia plant shown above ranks as the species with the largest known individual bloom. Smelling of rotten flesh, the yard-wide flower attracts carrion-loving insects for pollination.

The rafflesia plant shown above ranks as the species...

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