Aristolochia grandiflora

Over the weekend I was at the river inspecting a dead kapok tree on the shore. A woody vine was still connecting it to the rock wall it fell from, preventing the tree from washing away. When I finished looking at the tree my eyes were drawn to a space between two very large rocks that were covered with dense vegetation.
Hanging inside the space between the rocks was a very large and unusual shape. I almost couldn't believe my eyes, I found a huge flower! I carefully climbed in the small space between the rocks for a closer look at the strangest thing I have ever found in the wild.
I tried my best for some creative photos, but the small space limited me. I saw a second large bloom higher up and decided I could see it better from a different vantage point. When I got closer to the second bloom I smelled rotting flesh but I didn't see anything dead. At this location I was able to get some pictures of the front side of the entire flower. I also saw several smaller blooms that hadn't fully opened.
When I returned home I consulted the plant book and discovered I had just seen the largest flower in Costa Rica, Aristolochia grandiflora. The plant book says it's rare to see in the wild. The rotting smell I detected was actually the flower making the scent to attract insects for pollination. More information can be found on Wikipedia. I went back the next day and took some more photos and have returned daily to observe this incredible plant. The internet tells me the best way to propagate is by seed so I will be watching for those and will try to grow some near the house. Nature is full of so many surprises!
This is a younger blossom that hasn't opened yet. You can see some more photos of this unusual flower on my Instagram account.

Comments

You struck gold with the rare flower. I wonder how often it blossoms. I imagine the scent is off-putting.
I'm keeping a close eye on this plant. Today I noticed a new blossom has fully opened. The smell is something else!