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Titan of the flowers

David Attenborough visits a tropical rainforest in Sumatra to see the titan arum - the biggest flower in the world. It only flowers once every 1,000 days and the flower only lasts three days, so few people have seen one. He stands next to a flower that is taller and wider than he is - it is nine feet tall and three feet across. Techincally it is a whole group of flowers clustered into one big one. The big spike in the middle produces a smell of bad fish, which attracts insects. No one was sure what pollinated this flower, but whilst filming it was disovered that tiny sweat bees were doing the pollinating. The male flowers form a band at the top and the female ones below. The bees crawled all over the female flowers, seeming to get some reward. Why have such a big flower? Perhaps it needs to be this big to carry its smell a decent distance in the still, humid air of the rainforest.

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2 minutes

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