The ugliest flowers in the rainforest

Submitted by Webmaster on Mon, 25/07/2005 - 22:03

Right now swarms of alien-like plants are emerging from the rainforest floor. When I first saw these things, I promptly dissected one in a vain attempt to work out which kingdom these organisms belong. I could not find anything recognisable, however they are known to science and are considered to be a flower of a specialised root parasite. Being a root parasite, the plant has no leaves or stems and no chlorophyll. The scientific name of this plant is Balanophora fungosa. Try as I might, I have been unable to find any information about these things on the web, only that it is a root parasite and a few photos. The knobs at the tops of the flowers vary from grape to golf ball size.Does anyone have any info on these plants that they could post in the environment forum? Click to enlarge photosBalanophora can be seen in most rainforests around Cairns, particularly the Blue Arrow walk and Goldsborough Valley.

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