It is the largest flower on earth. It has one-inch thick pedals, spans three feet across, and weighs up to twenty-four pounds. Its scientific name is Rafflesia arnoldii.
Another giant flower, the Titan arum, which can grow up to ten feet in height. Both grow in the rain forests of Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Sumatra.
But you wouldn’t want either of these flowers in your home, not even in your garden. They both bear the nickname “Stinking Corpse Flower,” because their scent is similar to that of rotting flesh. These flowers use this scent to attract carrion-feeding beetles and flies to facilitate their pollination.i
Sure, they’re big and they’re beautiful. But the sweet smell of a rose or gardenia, or the tiny flowers of the lilac or honeysuckle are far more desirable.
So being the biggest does not equate to being the best or the most desirable. That’s true with flowers. It’s also true with people. Being “greatest” at something or reaching the top of the professional ladder is a poor measure of success. Some of the most successful people are also some of the most offensive. It is far more desirable that we strive to help and to bless others, and to sweeten their lives.
The Scripture says, “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men” (Galatians 6:9–10).
Dear Father in heaven, please make me a blessing to others. Grant that I may help rather hurt and bless rather than curse. Amen.
Information in part from Bruce Felton & Mark Fowler, The Best, Worst, & Most Unusual: Noteworthy Achievements, Events, Feats & Blunders of Every Conceivable Kind, Galahad Books, New York, 1976, pp. 182-83.
In article photo: Titan Arum (Amorphophallus Titanum) by Luke Mackin licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0