rafflesia

rafflesia

[ruh-flee-zhuh, -zhee-uh, -zee-uh, ra-]
noun
any stemless, leafless, parasitic plant of the genus Rafflesia, of the Malay Peninsula and Republic of Indonesia, characterized by apetalous flowers, measuring 3 in.–3 feet (8 cm–90 cm) in diameter, that exude a putrid odor: now greatly reduced in number.

Origin:
< Neo-Latin (1821), after T. S. Raffles, who obtained the type specimen

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World English Dictionary
rafflesia (ræˈfliːzɪə)
 
n
any of various tropical Asian parasitic leafless plants constituting the genus Rafflesia, esp R. arnoldi, the flowers of which grow up to 45 cm (18 inches) across, smell of putrid meat, and are pollinated by carrion flies: family Rafflesiaceae
 
[C19: New Latin, named after T. S. Raffles, who discovered it]

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Word Origin & History

rafflesia
genus of Malaysian plants, 1820, named for Sir T. Stamford Raffles (1781-1826), British governor of Sumatra, who introduced it to the West. He reports the native name was petimum sikinlili "Devil's betel-box."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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