Ex Situ Conservation of Rafflesia patma BLUME (Rafflesiaceae)

an Endangered Emblematic Parasitic Species from Indonesia


  • Sofi Mursidawati Bogor Botanic Garden
  • Ngatari Ngatari Bogor Botanic Garden
  • Irawati Irawati Bogor Botanic Garden
  • Sarah Cardinal Conservatiore Botanique National de Brest
  • Richa Kusumawati Bogor Botanic Garden




Plants in the genus Rafflesia (Rafflesiaceae) bear the largest flowers in the world. Almost all members of this holoparasitic plant family have limited ranges and are rare or threatened. This genus is therefore important from a scientific and conservation perspective. An ex situ conservation collection of a population of Rafflesia patma Blume has been monitored at Bogor Botanic Garden (BBG) since 2004, the first time that this has ever been done. Studies have been made, including propagation trials on both seed and vegetative material at BBG. Of all the propagation methods tested, grafting on to the host plant Tetrastigma scariosum (Blume) Planch proved to be the most successful for growing R. patma, resulting in blooming having occurred seven times since 2010. Grafting is the quickest way to propagate Rafflesia in cultivation. This cultivation process provides a new hope for the conservation of this endangered and charismatic genus. This paper describes the methods trialled including both unsuccessful techniques as well as those which resulted in blooming events.

Author Biographies

Sofi Mursidawati, Bogor Botanic Garden

Rafflesia Project Leader

Ngatari Ngatari, Bogor Botanic Garden

Senior Horticulturist

Irawati Irawati, Bogor Botanic Garden

Senior Researcher

Sarah Cardinal, Conservatiore Botanique National de Brest

International Project Manager

Richa Kusumawati, Bogor Botanic Garden



BARCELONA, J.F., PELSER, P.B., BALETE, D.S. & CO, L.L. (2009). Taxonomy, ecology, and conservation status of Philippine Rafflesia (Rafflesiaceae). Blumea 54: 77–93.

BARKMAN, T.J., LIM, S.-H., SALLEH, K.M. & NAIS, J. (2003). Mitochondrial DNA sequences reveal the photosynthetic relatives of Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101(3): 787–792.

BIR, R.E., BILDERBACK, T.E. & RANNEY, T.G. (2012). Grafting and Budding Nursery Crop Plants. North Carolina State University-College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Available online: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/grafting.html (accessed January 2015).

D-MAPS (2007–2015). Available online: http://www.d-maps.com (accessed January 2015).

KUIJT, J. (1969). The Biology of Parasitic Flowering Plants. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.

MABBERLEY, D.J. (2008). Mabberley’s Plant-Book – A Portable Dictionary of Plants, Their

Classification and Uses, 3rd edn. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

MCHAFFIE, H., FRACHON, N. & ROBERTSON, A. (2011). Starting a conservation collection of Sorbus pseudomeinichii – the Catacol whitebeam. Sibbaldia 9: 171–178. Available online: https://doi.org/10.23823/Sibbaldia/2011.129.

MEIJER, W. (1997). Rafflesiaceae. In: KALKMAN, C., KIRKUP, D.W., NOOTEBOOM, H.P., STEVENS, P.F., DE WILDE, W.J.J.O. (eds). Flora Malesiana, vol. 13, pp. 1–42.

MOGEA, J.P., GANDAWIDJAYA, J., WIRIADINATA, H., NASUTION, R.E. & IRAWATI (2001). Indonesian Rare Plants. Research Center and Development for Biology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Bogor.

MURASHIGE, T. & SKOOG, F. (1962). A revised medium for rapid growth and bio-assays with tobacoo tissue cultures. Physiol Plant 15(3): 473–497.

NAIS, J. (2001). Rafflesia of the World. Sabah Park & Natural History Publications (Borneo) Sdn. Bhd.

NAIS, J. & WILCOCK, C.C. (1999). The propagation of Rafflesia and its host plant: Prospects for ex situ conservation. Sabah Parks Nature Journal 2: 111–120.

RASMUSSEN, H.N. (1995). Terrestrial Orchids, From Seed to Mycotrophic Plant. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

SOFIYANTI, N. & YEN, C.C. (2012). Morphology of ovule, seed and pollen grain of Rafflesia R. BR. (Rafflesiaceae). Bangladesh Association of Plant Taxonomists 19(2): 109–117.

SUKAMTO, L.A. & MUJIONO, M. (2010). In vitro culture of holoparasite Rafflesia arnoldii R. Brown. Buletin Kebun Raya: The Botanic Garden Bulletin 13(2): 79–85.




How to Cite

Mursidawati, S., Ngatari, N., Irawati, I., Cardinal, S., & Kusumawati, R. (2015). Ex Situ Conservation of Rafflesia patma BLUME (Rafflesiaceae): an Endangered Emblematic Parasitic Species from Indonesia. Sibbaldia: The International Journal of Botanic Garden Horticulture, (13), 99–110. https://doi.org/10.24823/Sibbaldia.2015.77