Rafflesia is a genus of parasitic flowering plants in the family Rafflesiaceae. It contains approximately 28 species (including four incompletely characterized species as recognized by Willem Meijer in 1997), all found in Southeast Asia, mainly in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. It was first discovered by French surgeon and naturalist in Java between 1791 and 1794, but his notes and illustrations, seized by the British in 1803, were not available to western science until 1861. It was later found in the Indonesian rainforest in Bengkulu, Sumatra by an Indonesian guide working for Joseph Arnold in 1818, and named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the leader of the expedition.
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