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Rafflesia keithii discovered in Silabukan Forest Reserve

16 July 2022

By Wartawan Nabalu News

KOTA KINABALU: The Forestry Department team have found a Rafflesia kethii in full bloom in the Silabukan Forest Reserve, some 50km east of Lahad Datu, which is a rare discovery as the species had never been recorded this far east of Sabah.

The team comprising 14 crews came across the largest of three species of Rafflesias found in Sabah while conducting a forest inventory in the forest reserve area.

The inventory was part of a collaboration with WWF Malaysia aiming to establish a land-cover monitoring system for the larger Tabin landscape which covers about 450,000 ha.

Measuring at 47cm in diameter, the parasitic flowering plant was found growing on volcanic soil at an altitude of 630 metres.

There was an unopened Rafflesia bud found next to the plant while another one was found some 30 metres away.

According to Dr Joan Pereira, a senior botanist at the Sandakan Forest Research Centre, the easternmost record of Rafflesia in Sabah is a lone record from the Danum Valley Conservation Area.

Rafflesia keithii primarily occur on the west coast of Sabah at altitudes ranging from 250-940 metres, such as along the Crocker Range, Kinabalu Park, Tambunan, Kota Marudu and Ranau.

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