When you think of plants, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Beautiful bouquets? Delicate, fragrant petals?
This is typically what people think of when they think of plants.
But, Mother Nature knows no bounds and you may be surprised by the weird and wonderful types of plants she has created.
For example, Titan arum or the “Corpse Flower” is the largest flower in the world but smells like rotting meat, hence its name. Or, what about the Parrot Flower found in Southeast Asia? When viewed from its side, it looks like a parrot.
We’ve hand-picked five plants that’ll be sure to grab your attention and inspire you. These species don’t look like your typical plant but that’s what makes them so interesting.
1. Monkey Orchid – Dracula simia
This rare orchid is found in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian cloud forest at high elevations. Orchids can be found in all shapes, sizes and colors but this one looks like an animal. It received its name because its petals and design depict that of a monkey’s face. When the monkey orchid blooms, it has a ripe orange smell.
2. Happy Alien Flowers – Calceolaria uniflora
Without even looking at a picture, you can just tell this flower will look unique just by its name! It was given its name due to its unearthly shape. This flower was originally discovered by Charles Darwin and grows in cold climates, near the Southern tip of South America close to Antarctica. Happy Alien Flowers typically grow near or on rocks due to their short roots. The flower’s shape attracts hummingbirds and its pollen rubs off on these birds to help with pollination.
3. Bee Orchid – Ophrys apifera
The petals on this orchid resemble that of its pollinator, the bee! Though it is a self-pollinating plant, male bees are tricked by its fragrance thinking it’s a female bee. These orchids aren’t typically found in the U.S. because they require a Mediterranean climate. Ophrys means “eyebrow” and apifera means “bee-bearing”, referring to the flower’s bee shape.
4. Bat Plant – Tacca chantrieri
This eerie-looking flower has multiple names, Devil Flower, Cat’s Whiskers or Bat Head Lily. The plant was originally found in Southern China, where the warm climate and the tropical forest of Yunnan Province provide optimal growing conditions for this flower. The Bat Plant can grow up to 36 inches! The Bat Plant’s dark aesthetic compliments Halloween decor and will be sure to spark a conversation.
5. Giant Pelican Flower or Giant Dutchman’s Pipe – Aristolochia gigantea
Native to Brazil, Costa Rica and Brazil, this flower has a pungent smell to humans but certain insects are instantly attracted to it. Flies become temporarily trapped in the center, with one-way hairs directing it to pollinate. Known by its scientific name as Aristolochia gigantea, the genus name comes from the Greek words aristos meaning best and locheia meaning “childbirth.” In the past, this plant was used for the treatment of pain and infections from giving childbirth.
Customize your workplace with plants
Sometimes we forget how incredible nature can be. We think of plants and their aesthetic purpose but their design has an important function. It supports life in their respective, local ecology.