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Tambunan Rafflesia Flower Centre 擔布南大王花中心
Explore the Wonders of Sabah Malaysia
Rafflesia comes after the name of an adventurer and founder of the British colony of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles. After a jungle expedition in Sumatra(Indonesia) in 1821-22, Raffles and Dr.Joseph Arnold, a young accompanying assistant surgeon in the Navy with a passion for natural history. At the time Sir Stamford was the Governor of Sumatra and while riding on horseback,crossing jungle clad mountainous Sumatra, both of them came across this fabulous flower. The Rafflesia Forest Reserve covers an area of 356 ha of Tambunan district. It was established in 1984 by the Sabah Forestry Department to protect the Rafflesia flowers abundant in the area. The Rafflesia Information Centre, located directly along the road fromKota Kinabalu to Tambunan, is the main touristic target within the reserve. Several sites of Rafflesia Pricei are reachable from the centre on hiking trails. The Rafflesia is a disembodied flower. A rootless, leftless and stemless parasite, it drains nourishment and gains physical support from its host vine. Its only body outside the flower consists of strands of fungus-like tissue that grow inside the Tetrastigma vine. It first manifests itself as a tiny bud on the vine’s stem. Most buds rot before they attain maturity, but when they finally open nine or more months, they display five huge, fleshy petals that can reach in extreme cases almost one meter in diameter and weigh over seven kilogram’s. Over a period of 12 months, it swells to a cabbage like head that bursts around midnight under the cover of a rainy night to reveal this startling, lurid-red flower. Beauty turns beastly in only a few days. The Rafflesia only flowers for 5 to 6 days, before the petals blacken and the flower withers. The “flowering Beast” begins to smell like a rotting meat, attracting blue bottle flies for pollination. Only Rafflesia pricei, about 30 cm in diameter and second largest species in Sabah, is found in the Tambunan forest reserve about 1,200 – 1,400 Meters above sea level. Daily sighting is not guaranteed and in fact consider rare.