I believe one of the most unique fact of traveling is the different things that you get to witness and experience. Jakarta has always been a mixed experience for me. But the quirk factor will always be a fond memory. Let me introduce to you:
Bogor Botanical Garden
visited in the year 2007
Referred by the natives as Kebun Raya Bogor, the garden was first started in 1817 under the government of Dutch East Indies. Over the years, Bogor Botanical Garden has evolved to become one of the prime research center for agriculture and horticulture. Covering an area of 87 hectares, the garden boasts over 400 species of palm trees, 5,000 trees gathered from around the tropical world, and an orchid house containing 3,000 varieties. Records show that the Bogor Botanical Gardens harbours 3,504 plant species, 1,273 genus in 199 families.
The entire area is exquisite to look at, with the typical pungent smell of flowers permeating the area. But what truly attracted my attention, is not only my favorite orchids housed in The Orchid House, but also two of the most original and unique flowers in this world – Rafflesia and Amorphophallus titanum. Unfortunately, I am not able to provide any self attested photos since I have lost all my soft copies and the true evidence lies with my grand parents who are unable to locate it. So kindly bear with me.
Grammatophyllum speciosum aka Tiger Orchids is known as the Queen of Orchids, mainly because of the size (approx 10 cm in diameter) and is said to be a native to Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo, Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi) and Malaysia. It has also been recorded in the Philippines, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The interesting fact that I still remember is that the plant flowers every 2-4 years, lasting for up to 2 months. What a beauty!!
My most favorite specimen in the Bogor Garden would be the infamous Rafflesia. It is quite a good fortune when you come across one of the most rare parasitic plants; but you will be the luckiest person if you actually happen to see the blooming flower in person. You see, the flower usually lasts for a mere 4-5 days. It was so unusual to listen to the guide’s narrative explaining how the world’s largest flower spends nearly all of its life cycle inside the stem of a woody climbing plant and erupts out once in blue moon, smelling of rotten flesh. The smell may seem nauseating to the visitors, but it rather helps in attracting flies and beetles enabling fertilization.There is no true stem, roots or leaves that can actually relate it to the world of flowers. Growing up to a size of 1 meter, the flower is a native of the West and Central Java.
Amorphophallus titanum (Titan arum) is the world’s tallest flower, extending up to 3 meters above the ground and restricted to the region of Sumatra. I distinctly remember the distinct foul odour that permeated the are and how I was snapping pictures because my father decided to pose next to it.
Bogor is a refreshing change for citizens of Jakarta who seek for a quick weekend getaway. Nothing serves as a room freshener than a garden full of fresh flowers.
Sighhhhh…this brings so many memories!!!