World’s weirdest plants

By Stef Zisovska
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World’s weirdest plants

Stef Zisovska
 
 
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The smelly and flourishing world of flowers is something that we always connect to beauty, gentleness, and butterflies. Beauty is the first thing we think about when someone mentions a flower, but like many other things in life, the beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Mother Nature is very creative when it comes to flower species, their forms, sizes, and characteristics. There are weird looking plants that can live up to 5 years without water, and other plants are meat-eaters. It’s amazing how many flower species our planet hosts and how many flowers live out there without our knowledge.

Derby boab, Western Australia – Author: Nachoman-au – CC BY-SA 3.0
Derby boab, Western Australia – Author: Nachoman-au – CC BY-SA 3.0

When speaking of plants, some say that they are boring and never move. Well, that’s not quite the reality. Plants are more than we know about them and yes, they are very much alive and moving. It’s not fair to be ignorant, not knowing a few basic things about the species that creates our oxygen.

Drosera falconeri Darwiniana – Author: Rosťa Kracík – CC BY 3.0 cz
Drosera falconeri Darwiniana – Author: Rosťa Kracík – CC BY 3.0 cz

There are some representatives of the colorful flower kingdom that own interesting features. Here’s list of some of the world’s weirdest plant species.

The Corpse Flower or Amorphophallus titanum

A. titanum, Bayreuth University, Germany, June 7, 2015 – Author: Fbianh – CC0
A. titanum, Bayreuth University, Germany, June 7, 2015 – Author: Fbianh – CC0

The Corpse Flower is an Indonesian species that grows taller than a man and has the biggest flower in the world. It has the color of rotten flesh and smells like it as well. This low-budget horror movie plant’s fragrance is simply unbearable. In Indonesia, people call it Titan Arum or a corpse flower.

Welwitschia Mirabilis: World’s Most Resistant Plant

Welwitschia mirabilis in Namibia – Author: Freddy Weber
Welwitschia mirabilis in Namibia – Author: Freddy Weber

The Welwitschia Mirabilis is a Namibian Desert plant that is considered to be the most resistant plant on Earth. It has only two leaves and a root system that can survive without water up to 5 years. Welwitschia grows 8 meters wide and two meters tall and has a long life of 400 to 1500 years. It’s also edible, fresh or baked, which has earned it another name, the Onion of the Desert.

Dionaea Muscipula: the Venus Fly Trap

Dionaea muscipula ‘Akai Ryu’, Japanese for ‘Red Dragon’, in cultivation – Author: Matthias Jauernig – CC BY-SA 3.0
Dionaea muscipula ‘Akai Ryu’, Japanese for ‘Red Dragon’, in cultivation – Author: Matthias Jauernig – CC BY-SA 3.0

The most famous of carnivorous plants, the Venus Fly Trap, is the deadliest insect trap. Its fame comes from the incredible killing reputation of the modified leaves of this beauty. Dionaea is the flowering plant that kills more insects than any other plant in the world.

Rafflesia Arnoldi: World’s Largest Flower

Mature Rafflesia Arnoldii flower with buds – Author: Raphaelhui at English Wikipedia – CC BY-SA 3.0
Mature Rafflesia Arnoldii flower with buds – Author: Raphaelhui at English Wikipedia – CC BY-SA 3.0

Rafflesia Arnoldii is another exotic Indonesian plant with a hideous smell. When in bloom, you can barely survive the decomposed animal flesh odor, however the carrion flies which it relies on for pollination can’t get enough of the smell. Luckily, the flower only lives 2 to 3 days and flourishes very rarely. Local people call it also the Corpse Flower because of its smell. The flowers of Rafflesia Arnoldii are also the largest known.

Desmodium Gyrans: the Dancing Plant

Branch during day (left) and night (right) – Author: Paul Hermann Wilhelm Taubert (1862-1897) – Leguminosae. in Engelmann (ed.): Natürliche Pflanzenfamilien. Vol. III, 3.
Branch during day (left) and night (right) – Author: Paul Hermann Wilhelm Taubert (1862-1897) – Leguminosae. in Engelmann (ed.): Natürliche Pflanzenfamilien. Vol. III, 3.

Desmodium Gyrans is a tropical Asian bush that grows in China, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. It’s one of the rare plants known for its rapid movements. The leaves of the dancing plant move fast enough to be visible with a naked eye. The leaves have hinges that permit them to move around and chase the sunlight.

Baobab: the Bottle Tree

Adansonia grandidieri – Author: Fox-Talbot – CC BY-SA 3.0
Adansonia grandidieri – Author: Fox-Talbot – CC BY-SA 3.0

Baobab is the name of 9 different species of the genus Adansonia. Six out of nine are native only in Madagascar, one in Australia, two in Africa and one in the Arabian Peninsula. Baobab trees can store up to 300 liters of water and can live more than 500 years. Besides that, they look like a huge bottle.

Selaginella Lepidophylla: the Resurrection Plant

Selaginella lepidophylla gruen – Author: Fabelfroh – CC BY-SA 3.0
Selaginella lepidophylla gruen – Author: Fabelfroh – CC BY-SA 3.0

The Selaginella Lepidophylla is probably the weirdest of all plants. During a dry season it curls up in a ball that looks entirely dead, but it seems it’s only waiting for the rain to come. As soon as it receives moisture, it revives and uncurls. Sounds freaky, right?

Our planet is an amazing place full of surprises that are waiting to be explored, but not destroyed.

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