by Dan Nickrent


The tallest tales a botanist tells
Are usually meant to tease ya
But hang on to your hats my friends
This one's about Rafflesia
To Sumatra the Dutch had sailed
In search of gold and treasure
The "greatest prodigy of the vegetable world"
Has value that's hard to measure
The Queen of Parasites Brown named
For Sir Raffles' and Arnold's prize
The grandest flower in the world
A full three feet in size!
She's a parasite inside a vine
Fifteen pounds does a flower weigh
No stems, no leaves, no dirty roots
She's thrown them all away
And then the topic of her smell
Most certainly not a rose!
But whether she really stinks at all
Depends upon the nose
And now my dear it isn't clear
What creature spreads these plants
It could be ants, it could be squirrels
Or even elephants!
From whirling saws and hungry mouths
Her habitat is shrinking
What took nature countless years to make
Could disappear in a blinking
Her haven's still and dark and moist
On Mount Kinabalu
This sanctuary's a great first step
For her preservation's overdue