Rare ‘Olympic torch-like’ plant found in Malaysia

April 29th, 2008 - 3:48 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, April 29 (IANS) A rare tuberous herbaceous plant that resembles the Olympic torch and is believed to be the amorphophallus prainii has been found at a recreational park in Malaysia’s Kedah state. The state’s Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) chairman, Phang Fatt Khow, said the plant was uncommon in this country and it was odd that it was growing next to a car park at the Bukit Wang recreational park as it was normally found in lowlands and secondary forests.

“This plant is in the last growing season. Its leaf or flower will die and fall off but the rhizome will stay underground and enter a dormant period,” he said, adding that it was also uncommon to find two plants growing next to each other.

Amorphophallus is a large genus of some 170 tropical and subtropical tuberous herbaceous plants from the Arum family. The largest, amorphophallus titanium, is reported to be able to grow and reach over three metres in height.

Phang said the plant at the Bukit Wang recreational area was about three days old and would last for several days more.

He said it resembled the amorphophallus prainii as it bore the characteristic white flower. The plant has grown to 60 cm in height.

“If we cut open the flower, it will give out a repulsive scent which is used to attract insects,” he was quoted as saying in The Star newspaper Tuesday.

Malaysia was one of the nations through which the Olympic torch passed headed for Beijing that is to host the next Games.

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