Malaysia is a sometimes overlooked destination in Southeast Asia, but it has a lot to offer. This thoroughly middle-income country (neither truly wealthy nor truly impoverished) is blessed with some of the world's oldest tropical rain forests and island beach paradises. However, one thing that can be found everywhere in the country are beautiful flowers, prospering in the warm, wet weather.
These famous flowers are not much to look at or smell, but they do have the distinction of being among the largest flowers on Earth. The typical specimen has a flower 20 inches across, and some grow to be twice as large and weigh more than 20 pounds. It is a parasitic plant that survives by feeding off surrounding vines. They are sometimes called "corpse flowers," because they stink of rotting flesh, and their substance even looks a little fleshy. They are found in the lower reaches of highland tropical rain forests, both in Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo.
This flower has 200 different species that are common to a variety of climates around the world. It grows everywhere in Malaysia and flowers all year around. The petals are often dried and used in both black and herbal tea blends.
This flowery shrub can be found just about anywhere in Malaysia and is a popular choice for growing hedges. The Malay word for it, "jejarum," means "needle flower." The flowers are popular with Malay children, because it is possible for a human to suck nectar straight out of the flower buds. It blooms year around.
As a tropical country, Malaysia is also home to orchids. Little known is the fact that the beautiful and prized orchid is a parasitic plant, feeding on living and dead trees. Arguably, the best place to explore Malaysian orchids isn't even in Malaysia, but next door in neighboring Singapore. The Singapore Botanical Gardens is widely considered to house the best collection of orchids in the world, and its collection for Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo is complete.
Known as the saga tree in Malaysia and Abrus precatorius to botanists, a variety of names are used for it elsewhere. It is so strongly identified by Malays with their country that Malaysia's indigenously produced car was named for it. The flowering plant's potently poisonous red seeds are often used to make jewelry or as playthings by children.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.