Titan Arum and Rafflesia are Different

The rafflesia flower was often confused by titan arum flower. Even few of media in Indonesia made the common mistake. Rafflesia and Titan arum both are giant flowers. They give off the rotten smell, like a cadaver, so both can be nicknamed as “corpse flower”. The odor’s function is for attracting beetles and flies to do pollinate.

The both also grow in Sumatran rainforest. In Bengkulu, rafflesia has been a motif of Besurek batik (kind of batik specialty Bengkulu) since a long time ago. In other hand, titan arum is official flower of Bengkulu province. So this is a little bit confusing, in no doubt. But you’ll see the clear different within this table:


Titan Arum

Rafflesia arnoldii

Rafflesia arnoldii

Latin name

Titan arum

Amorphpophallus titanium



Cream on the outside and purple in the crown
Parasite to lianas (if the nursemaid dies, Rafflesia will also dies)


Up to 0.5 m high, diameter 1 m

Posture when blossom

Up to 4 m high, diameter 1.5 m
Cannot (the nursemaid, Tetrastigma vine, grows only in primary rainforests)

Cultivation outside the habitat

Can (that’s why it can be found in many botanic gardens around the world)
Lacks any observable leaves, stems or roots.


Grow on its roots. Has a big leaf and stem.
9 months

Grow of flower

Many months
5-7 days, then wilted and died

Blooming period

7 days, then wilted

Odoardo Beccari, an Italian botanist, first discovered titan arum in Sumatra 1878. Though found in many botanic gardens around the world, titan arum is still indigenous only to the Sumatra’s tropical forests.

If the largest branched inflorescence in the plant kingdom belongs to the Talipot palm (Corypha umbraculifera), titan arum is a flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world. Meanwhile, the largest single flower is borne by the Rafflesia arnoldii.

Rafflesia is rare. It’s difficult to locate the strange plants in forests as the buds take many months to develop and the flower lasts for just a few days. How many of these flowers still survive is unknown. It might be almost extinction. As the remaining primary (undisturbed) forests of Borneo and Sumatra disappear, it can only be assumed that their numbers are declining.

If you’d like to see the both flowers in indigenous habitat, visit Indonesia. I’ll tell you when hear that they are about to bloom.


12 Replies to “Titan Arum and Rafflesia are Different”

  1. presty larasati


    nice to read this article thx to write this article in english.. so we can tell everyone that rafflesia is different from titan arum..

    i ever wrote this article in indonesian, bunga rafflesia vs bunga bangkai. and i had plan to write those article in english, but till now, im still not translette it yet..

    thx for you.. who have write it in english. to told everyone in this world… 😀

  2. Brahmanto Anindito Post author

    Thanks for coming and commenting, Presty. When I was younger, I was confuse, which one exactly the giant flower is. And now, when I recognize the differrent, I just write it up. ^_^

  3. L Soeryo

    Hi Brahmanto, thank you for your article about Madurasa Restaurant in Bangkalan..seems so wonderful, hope i can visit Madura island when i back home..


  4. sheriel

    bunga bangkai adalah bunga terbesar didunia yang hanya da di indonesia…., bunga bangkai adalah bunga yang langka dan harus di lindungi oleh bangsa indonesia….!!!
    OCRE PREN……….

  5. christine

    Titan arum and rafflesia are actually flowers belonging in the same family, with different modifications in their physical appearance whereas titan arum has a tall built, rafflesia is bulged or even bulbular.

  6. Lucky Restu Prasetya

    It’s a great article and I get more information about it, thanks. But, I’ve heard that Rafflesia Arnoldi was successfully cultivated in Sabah. Is it true? and how they can cultivate it?

  7. Soumya Das Chakraborti

    I had a confusion about Rafflesia and Titan arum but now…It’s clear to me. Thanks for this article.


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