Mother nature has rules of its own. Animals have sharp claws, fatal venom and astounding camouflaging abilities to protect themselves. The circle of life assures every predator has a prey and vice versa – and it does so for plants as well. Since most cannot attack or attract, plants use their peculiar shapes and vibrant colors to protect themselves – and lure others in.
Do Not Be Alarmed
Here the most intriguing, surprising and alarming plants out there. These plants look like such peculiar creatures, you’ll be shocked at how amazing mother nature is.
Aliens Spreading Like Wildfire
Looking like a merry little alien, this stunning plant goes by the name of Calceolaria Uniflora – or by Darwin’s Slipper Flower. The plant was discovered by Charles Darwin while the man was in his voyage around South America. Many have claimed these unique flowers resemble tiny orange penguins marching their way over the rocks. Over time, this plant multiplies into a small colony – but it’s a species that thrives in cool climate and cannot handle the summer heat.
It May Look Harmless, But…
Resembling a flying duck, the plant’s scientific name is Caleana Major. A native of Eastern and Southern Australia, the Caleana Major is quite small, measuring to around 19.5 inches. The flower looks very much like a duck in flight, with its mustard-tinted wings spread out behind the plum colored body. This orchid might look completely harmless, but the truth is that as soon as insect brush against the orchid’s labellum, it quickly shuts and traps the sawfly within.
No Monkey Business
According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the start of the Year of the Monkey will commence on February 8th, 2016. One Japanese aquarium, the Aquamarine Fukushima, decided it wanted to celebrate the occasion in a particularly floral fashion – by setting up an exhibit featuring the rare Dracula simia flower, also known as the Monkey Orchid. This plant has vibrant petals and what strikes a many as features mirroring a primate’s face. Monkey Orchids mostly grow in regions of Ecuador and Colombia, adding an element of uniqueness to the Japan-based exhibit.
The Stuff Of Nightmares
The Octopus Stinkhorn, or Clathrus archeri, is also often called Devil’s Fingers – and this nickname was not given in vain. The plant is a type of fungus which, like most fungi, is globally distributed. This plant is the stuff of nightmares – it erupts from a dinosaur-looking egg and forms four to seven elongated, slim tentacle-like arms that erect at the top of the egg. The arms then unfold, only to reveal a dark red painted interior, covered with dark spore gleba. It also smells of decayed flesh at this stage.
A Blessing And A Curse
The Snapdragon flower is a very common one found in home gardens. Also known as the dragon flower, its common name stems from its resemblance to a dragon’s head. But once the flower has died, it leaves behind the seed pod – which has a much more ominous feel. The dragon turns into a human skull, a macabre transition that birthed a superstition saying the snapdragon possesses supernatural powers. Not only could the flower offer protection from curses, but the myth even claimed the flower could restore one’s youthfulness and beauty.
Planting A Seed
The orchid species of flowers produces countless breathtaking flowers, but none of which is more mesmerizing than the Anguloa Uniflora. The latter entails flowers that mirror swaddled babies, with its petals circling the infant like a protective aura. This beautiful orchid was discovered by botanists Antonio Pavon Jimenez and Hipolito Ruiz Lopez from Chile and Peru. Since then, the flower has been spotted in other places around the globe. There is no denying this plant is truly one of the most spectacular ones out there.
Buff Around The Edges
Orchis italica, commonly known as the Naked Man orchid, was granted its rather common name from the lobed lip (labellum) each flower has, which resembles the general shape of a naked man. This Mediterranean species of orchid favors partial shade and low nutrient soil. It can grow to up to 20 inches in height and blossoms during Spring, mostly around April. Orchis italica has bright pink, densely grouped flowers. Zooming out, these flowers look like a cluster of men dancing around in the buff.
Mother Nature Monkeying Around
Certain Monkey orchids display a furry appearance. There is a certain brown tint to the petals and a tail-like, lengthy structure, making the primate resemblance even more uncanny. These apish flowers are absolutely adorable – but they are also incredibly rare. They require rather harsh terms to blossom, which is why they can only be found in cloud forests of southeastern Ecuador and Peru. This cheeky plants only grow in elevation of 3,280-6,562 feet. “Orchids have diverse and unflowerlike looks,” wrote Susan Orlean in her book, “The Orchid Thief.”
Dance The Drought Away
The Dancing Girl Impatiens (or as it’s scientific name goes, Impatiens bequaertii) is a rare plant species that originates from rainforests in East Africa. The enchanting shape is, sadly, on a smaller scale (only about a foot across and barely half an inch long), which means one needs to step closer to examine its beauty. The petals mimic a little girl in a skirt with extended arms, and the theme goes well with the flower’s white to light-pink blossoms.
All In The Name
Found in Thailand, Burma and India, the Parrot flower, or Impatiens psittacina, was described by the famous botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker as a “flying cockatoo.” Since that diagnosis, it became hard to see anything else, but a winged creature climbed on the stems of this beautiful plant. This species of Impatiens is acknowledged in the Thai language as “Dork Nok Khaew,” which translates directly to “Flower Bird Parrot”. Adorned with a purple back and red-tinted head, this flower is shockingly not a living animal, despite what the name suggests.
Floral Tip Toe
Caladenia melanema stepped into the scene of breathtaking plants the minute it was initially spotted and landed the nickname of Ballerina orchid. This species, which roams around south-west of Western Australia, has a single erect, fuzzy leaf, to which two cream-colored flowers are attached, embellished with red markings and dark tips on the petals. The Ballerina orchid, as its name suggests, has an uncanny resemblance to a professional ballet dancer strutting on stage with her hands above her head and toes flexed.
Like An Angry Ogre
Also referred to as the Venus slipper, the genus of the Lady Slipper orchid is none other than Paphiopedilum. Native to Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, New Guinea, southern China and Bismarck Islands, the plant resembles a slipper with its cacoon-formed bottom front and two lengthy, extended petals spread out on the left and right of the flower. These petals are characterized by a rainbow spectrum spread along and a dotted print. Some claimed the petals resemble eyes and the cacoon a mouth and chin, in a way, reviving the plant.
A Natural Darth Vader
No, Darth Vader has not found a way to breach the world of fiction and come back to haunt his son, Luke Skywalker. This plant is actually called Aristolochia Salvadorensis, and as much as it might be popular in the media, this rare plant will hardly be spotted in its natural environment. The Darth Vader plant got its nickname from its helmet-resembling shape and the fact it has a horrible aroma of rotting flesh. Additionally, the plant has luminous “eyes” that insects fly through.
I’m Absolutely Buzzing
Looking like a happy buzzing bee wearing a huge grin and opening its arms for a big hug is the Ophrys bomybliflora, or as many like to call it, the Laughing Bumble Bee orchid. This flower is widespread across Europe, North Africa, the Canary Islands, and the Middle East. The genus name Ophrys comes from the Greek language, referencing the hairy lips of the flowers of this genus. The epithet bombyliflora derives from the Greek word for bumblebee, which references the appearance of the flowers of this species.
Is It A Bird? A Plane?
The Habenaria Radiata – or White Egret orchid – can be commonly found when roaming around Japan, Korea, China, and Russia. The flower is also often referred to as the fringed orchid, but should not be confused with the North American species of the white fringed orchid, Platanthera praeclara. The White Egret Orchid got its name for its striking flowers, which carry a remarkable resemblance to a graceful white egret midst flight. The strong terrestrial orchid required well-drained, moderate to constant moisture soil, and full to partial sunlight.
Take A Closer Look
This Moth Orchid, or Phalaenopsis, is one of the most popular orchids in the industry, and as such as had many artificial hybrids made. Mostly found in China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia, the Moth Orchid received its name once linked to the shape of a moth in flight. The “moth” could be spotted once zooming in right smack in the center of the flower. This particular type of orchid is also said to be the best one for growing inside a house, and is also a favorite with greenhouse growers.
Do Not Eat This Claw
Kangaroo Paw is a name used for a number of species that are indigenous to the south-west of Western Australia. The plant received its name due to the shape of its tubular flowers, which are coated with dense hairs and open at the apex, forming six claw-like structures. Kangaroo Paw is not a delicious treat, as most animals find its tiny hairs rather foul flavored. Nonetheless, small birds, particularly those in the honeyeater family, drink the plant’s nectar.
The globe’s most kissable plant – yes, you read that right – is definitely the Psychotria Elata, also known as Hooker Lips or Hot Lips Plant. There is no mistaking the shape of the plant’s vibrant red bracts into resembling anything else but a set of two luscious lips. The all-natural phenomenon can be found in the tropical rainforests of South and Central American countries, including Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama. As it turns out, the plant evolved into its exceptional shape and color to attract pollinators.
The Bleeding Tooth Fungus, or Hydnellum peckii, is actually a young and undeveloped version of the adult counterpart mushroom, but it looks much different than its final form. Also referred to as Devil’s Tooth, the plant initially has a white tint and is filled with red, gooey liquid that is caused by guttation. The soil surrounding the fungus then becomes wet, which creates pressure and squeezes the liquid up to the surface of the fungus. Rest assured, it’s safe to say this organism is not an animalist creature.
Escaped From Outerspace
If you thought you accidentally clicked on an article describing characters from Aliens Vs. Predator, fear not. This plant may look malicious, but it is just a harmless plant often referred to as the Black Bat Flower. The plant is endemic to tropical regions of Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, and southern China, and has the scientific name of Tacca Chantrieri. The unusual plant has long ‘whiskers’ that may grow up to 28 inches, and the entire plant is up to 12 inches in width.
Emerging From The Sand
If you ever wanted to adopt a rabbit but realized you simply don’t have the time or space to look after it, we just might have the perfect solution for you – just can grow one in a pot instead! A species of succulent called Monilaria obconica is making many in Japan spiral into a frenzy as it has a unique (and adorable) feature – it looks like it has little bunny rabbit ears. These quirky miniature plants have gone down a storm worldwide, and it’s not too difficult to understand why.
The Irritated Orchid
Slightly resembling a snarling face, this blossoming species of orchid looks absolutely dazzling even when it appears to be bitter. The flower was discovered by the nonprofit WWF along seven other species of the flower in Papua New Guinea’s tropical rain forests. “The island of New Guinea is an incredible goldmine of orchids,” said a WWF researcher and botanist by the name of Wayne Harris, who was with Australia’s Queensland Herbarium. “There are over 3,000 known species found here with countless varieties undoubtedly yet to be discovered.”
A Bite Out Of Buddha
Four years ago, a Chinese farmer by the name of Xianzhang Hao revealed he has successfully managed to grow pears in the shape of Buddha after years of research. The Hebei province native grew 10,000 of the “Buddha pears” in his backyard, and the godly shaped fruit is unsurprisingly in extremely high demand to this day, each pear selling for $8 each. “These pears are really popular because they represent good luck,” said Hao to Sina China. Hao got the idea from an old Chinese myth revealing eating Buddha shaped fruit guarantees immortality.
Under The Sea
Stapelia is a species of spineless, stem succulent plants that are predominantly found in South Africa. Although it might resemble a starfish roaming around the sea, this plant is not a living animal. The plant’s flowers can stretch out to 16 inches in diameter when the plant fully open. Stapelia’s visibly hairy petals generate the odor of rotten flesh when they bloom, which is used to attract various pollinators. These pollinators frequently lay eggs surrounding the coronae of the flowers, as they are convinced by the plants’ deception.
The Strangest In The World
Hydnora Africana cannot be confused for another plant, as it has no leaves at all, no chlorophyll and is 100% parasitic and perennial. The plant’s vegetative parts resemble a sort of fungus. In fact, the plant can only be spotted when the flower tips emerge out of the ground. Even the fruit grows underneath the dirt surface. It is worth mentioning that this plant is harvested for local use as a food, medicine, and source of tannin. This plant is without a doubt one of the strangest plants in the world.
The Bird Orchid, or Pterostylis barbata, is a common terrestrial orchid which can be found in the South-West of Western Australia. The Bird Orchid is the mostly known for its distinctive translucent flower that resembles a silhouette of a bird. With dark green reticulate (netted) markings and a sparsely-fringed labellum, this particular orchid can easily be confused for a bird mid-flight, hopping from one flower to another in search of nectar. The orchid even has a long, sharp part of the upper leaf that resembles a beak.
What Do You See?
This particular Monkey Face orchid slightly resembles a human man. The small, slightly purple tinted petal in the middle of the flower resembles a beard, whereas the eyes, eyebrows, and nose can easily be spotted for what they are. Some also claimed this specific orchid type could be seen as the king of the jungle, a lion. Either way, there is no denying a clear face can be made out of this stunning flower, despite it being a mere plant.
Sharp Teeth Underneath
Although it looks much different than the previous ones, this is too a monkey orchid. This particular species looks like a Rhesus monkey, because of its lighter skin and pink tint to the flesh. The somewhat threatening grin reveals sharp teeth and dark red eyes are not something campers would want to come across in real life once wandering through the jungle, which is why it is a good thing that this is a plant and not a crawling primate.
Resembling an insect with marvelous wings and a red and white stripey body, this is actually just a plant that has had a heavy dose of dew bathe its stem and leaves. The two water drops look like two puppy-sized eyes exploring where to fly onto next, and the slouching position of the plant is simply adorable. It is almost slightly saddening that this is not a real-life creature and just a moment perfectly captured by a nature enthusiast.