Known as the “Corpse Flower” due to its putrid smell, the Rafflesia Arnoldii has a diameter of 3 feet and weighs around 25 pounds.

The flower only blooms for five days a year, which makes it a popular attraction for travelers, anthophiles, and nature enthusiasts alike.

Random fact – there is some debate on whether Rafflesia Arnoldii is a flower or a fungus.

But, I digress.

Here’s the story …

The year was 2009 and my wife, Carrie, and I were backpacking across Southeast Asia. 🎒🚶‍♂️

While in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands, we heard that the world’s largest flower was in bloom.

As travelers do, we booked a guided tour through the jungle to check it out.

For nearly two hours, Carrie and I were led across mountains, valleys, streams, and copious amounts of mud to reach the flower patch.

Once there, our guide gave us space to explore the area and photograph the Corpse Flower in its natural element.

Surrounded by a dense patch of trees, bushes, and more mud, the giant, stinky red flowers stood out like a fiery beacon in the night.

A full-bloomed Rafflesia Arnoldii in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia
The bulb of a Rafflesia Arnoldii is nearly as large as my wife’s hand

My camera clicked away as I slipped and slid my way across the field of Rafflesia Arnoldii flowers.

Despite the putrid smell, I was in pure creative bliss.

Click click 📸
Slip slip 😬
Click click 📸

Once I made enough photos of the flower itself, it was time to get one of Carrie … so, I asked her to go up the slippery slope as I braced myself below.

That’s when it happened …

As I snapped the photo of Carrie, my feet slipped out from underneath me!

Up in the air, I went.

Down I came.


Hands first.

On the flower.

Instantly breaking off a giant petal.


What did I just do?!

My reaction was a mix of terror, embarrassment, and laughter.

Our guide’s reaction was to cover up the evidence.

As I got to my feet, he quickly picked up the broken petal and laid it back where it belonged to fool other visitors.

Meanwhile, our guide quickly picked up the broken petal and tried to lay it back where it belonged to fool other visitors.

Then, we quickly walked away.

I wonder what the next person who arrived at that flower must have thought!

14 years later, Carrie and I still crack up laughing at that memory.

Here’s a photo of our guide trying to put the flower back together …