Malaysia: Visitors throng park to see Rafflesia flower

The Star 21 Nov 16;

LUNDU: The Gunung Gading National Park here has been swarmed by visitors since Friday as word got out that its main attraction, the Rafflesia flower from the Rafflesia tuan-mudae species, is blooming.

The world’s largest flower started to bloom on Thursday (the first day of blooming which normally takes up to six days) and is expected to continue until tomorrow.

Visitors had to walk about 300m from the park office to see the flower.

Edmund Gering, 27, the officer in charge of the national park, which is about 120km from Kuching, said the Rafflesia takes almost nine months to flower.

“This time the 70cm-diameter flower has six petals. The Rafflesia normally produces five petals only.

“Every year, approximately 20 Rafflesia flowers bloom in the park,” he said when met here yesterday.

Visitors who want to see the Rafflesia must register with the national park management and be accompanied by a guide.

Edmund said there are about 23 locations with the Rafflesia flowers open for visitors as they are easily accessible and have been marked by the national park.

Asked about the name of the species, he said the species was dedicated to Charles Brooke II, who was referred to as Tuan Mudae Sarawak in Malay.

Gunung Gading National Park covers an area of 4,196 hectares and was gazetted in 1983 to create a conservation zone for the endangered plants.

Apart from the Rafflesia tuan-mudae which is endemic to this national park only, the Gunung Gading park is also famous for its waterfalls and pitcher plants. — Bernama

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