Rafflesia is the largest flower on earth, measuring up to an incredible 1.5 m across. This botanical giant has never been cultivated outside of its native range in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. To demonstrate the scale of rafflesia, for the first time, we will be exhibiting a life-size ‘3D oil painting’ of the plant here in the Garden from 23rd-30th October. The piece will be on display for just eight days – the natural length of time the plant is in bloom for.
The piece was produced by Chris Thorogood, our Head of Science & Public Engagement here at the Garden. It is constructed from papier-mâché, plaster, clay and oil paint, and is a botanically accurate replica, reconstructed from sketches and photographs of the plant taken by Chris. We have a long term ambition to cultivate rafflesia here at Oxford. But because the plant is not yet in cultivation, and because it is so rare in the wild, this 3D replica is the closest most of us can get to seeing this enigmatic botanical giant.
Come to the Garden to see this display and share your selfies alongside the plant with us, using the hashtag #RafflesiaInOxford – we look forward to seeing them!