Rafflesia blooms, attracting hundreds of visitors

LUNDU: The Gunung Gading National Park here has been swarmed by nearly 200 visitors since Friday due to its main attraction, the Rafflesia flower from the Rafflesia Tuan Mudae...

LUNDU: The Gunung Gading National Park here has been swarmed by nearly 200 visitors since Friday due to its main attraction, the Rafflesia flower from the Rafflesia Tuan Mudae species, having bloomed.

The world’s largest flower started to bloom Thursday (the first day of the blooming process which normally takes up to six days) and is expected to continue until Tuesday (Nov 22).

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Visitors have to walk about 300 metres or 20 minutes from the park’s office to reach the location of the flower.

The officer in charge at the national park, Edmund Gering, 27, 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. Each year, approximately 20 Rafflesia flowers will bloom in the park,” he said when met here today.

Visitors who want to see the Rafflesia must register with the national park management and be accompanied by a guide in order to take a peek at the flower.

Edmund said there were about 23 locations of the Rafflesia opened to visitors as they are easily accessible and had been marked by the national park.

When asked about the name of the species, Edmund said it was given to Charles Brooke II, who was referred to in Malay as “Tuan Mudae”.

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

Apart from the Rafflesia Tuan Mudae, the Gunung Gading National Park, located about 120km from Kuching, is also famous for its waterfalls and pitcher plants.

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