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For botanist enthusiasts, the Bung Hatta Forest Reserve is a delight, filled with rare plants and exotic flowers. Known in the past as the Setya Mulya Botanic Garden, this botanical garden is home to a variety of unique tropical plants and animal species endemic to Sumatra. Take a walk around here and you will see plants that you might not find anywhere else on earth.
The main attraction of the reserve is the giant flower, the Rafflesia Arnolldi, the biggest flower in the world. It is named after the Bencoolen and Bengkulu Lieutenant Governor of the British Administration, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, and the botanist Joseph Arnold who first discovered the flower on the Bukit Barisan mountain slope.
This flower is a rare wonder. It takes up to 10 months to mature but only stays in bloom for about 15 days. When it’s in full bloom, it has a diameter of one meter. The plant has no roots, stems but consist of thread like growths on the vines that hosts it. These flowers normally bloom between July and September. The flower is famous not just for it’s enormous size, but for it’s putrid perfume.
The reserve is 15km from Padang. If you are driving from Padang go in the direction of Solok.