15 of the Strangest Plant Species

There are always stories about weird animals, both on land and in the ocean. However, you rarely ever hear of strange plants that are outside of the norm. Well, you’re about to discover some of the weirdest plants that exist on planet Earth. They’re so odd that you will feel obligated to tell your friends and family what you’ve learned. These plants do so much more than just photosynthesize and provide blooming flowers for bees and other insects. It remains a mystery how certain plants managed to evolve in these strange ways. Keep reading to learn about some of the weirdest plant species growing on Earth.

Socotra Dragon tree (AKA Dragon’s Blood tree), a tree native to Yemen that produces sap the color of bloodDracaena cinnabari, the Socotra dragon tree or dragon blood tree, is a dragon tree native to the Socotra archipelago, part of Yemen, located in the Arabian Sea. It is named after the blood-like color of the red sap that the trees produce

The dragon blood tree has a unique and strange appearance, with an “upturned, densely packed crown having the shape of an uprightly held umbrella”. This evergreen species is named after its dark red resin, which is known as “dragon’s blood”. Unlike most monocot plants, Dracaena displays secondary growth, D. cinnabari even has growth zones resembling tree rings found in dicot tree species. Along with other arborescent Dracaena species it has a distinctive growth habit called “dracoid habitus”.[3] Its leaves are found only at the end of its youngest branches; its leaves are all shed every 3 or 4 years before new leaves simultaneously mature. Branching tends to occur when the growth of the terminal bud is stopped, due to either flowering or traumatic events (e.g. herbivory).[4]

Its fruits are small fleshy berries containing between 1 and 4 seeds. As they develop they turn from green to black, and then become orange when ripe. The berries are eaten by birds (e.g. Onychognatus species) and thereby dispersed. The seeds are 4–5 mm in diameter and weigh on average 68 mg.[4] The berries exude a deep red resin, known as dragon’s blood.[5]

Like other monocotyledons, such as palms, the dragon’s blood tree grows from the tip of the stem, with the long, stiff leaves borne in dense rosettes at the end (4, 5, 7). It branches at maturity to produce an umbrella-shaped crown, with leaves that measure up to 60 cm long and 3 cm wide. The trunk and the branches of the dragon blood are thick and stout and display dichotomous branching, where each of the branches repeatedly divides into two sections.

The Shyest Plant You’ll Ever Find

It’s called the shy plant because of how it reacts to the human touch. Scientifically known as Mimosa pudica, touching the compound leaves results in them closing. It will remain that way for a few minutes before opening up again. The shy plant also has this reaction when the sun goes down, likely to minimize evaporation from its leaves to retain moisture. You can see in the image how the plant will shut its leaves when someone touches it.

More Rotting Meat for the Masses

This plant might be attractive if you like the darker colors. However, it is yet another flower that smells like death. It is the dead horse arum lily. It sprouts strangely out of the ground, with a large flower at the end of a single stalk. It smells exactly like rotting meat to draw insects into its petals and take its pollen. What makes this plant even more unique is that it is thermogenic, meaning that it can produce its heat even in the middle of a cold night.

Pretty Far From the Ocean

Nicknamed the jellyfish tree, it’s easy to see how it got that moniker. The fruit it produces, when broken open, looks exactly like a tiny jellyfish. It’s sporadic to find one of these plants, and scientists believed it was extinct. Thankfully, it was rediscovered in the 1970s, but there aren’t very many of them left in the wild. These orange plants are quite nice to look at compared to some others. The fruit might even taste good, if you ever got to try some since they are so rare to find.

The Flower That Imitates an Insect

The hammer orchid is an endangered species of orchid that is doing everything that it can to survive. Because they’re only found in damp and swampy areas of Australia, that makes it difficult for them to pollinate.

Its clever disguise means the flowers are shaped like female wasps, which emit a pheromone that draws in the male wasps. This trick will cause the male wasp to try to mate with the flower, covering it in pollen in the process.

A Plant That Knows How to Keep a Beat

The dancing plant, also called Desmodium Gyrans, is a kind of dancing grass in most Asian countries. The plant is capable of moving its leaves around in a way that resembles semaphore signals. This movement is so that the plant can absorb as much sunlight as possible, increasing its output from photosynthesis. However, the leaves are quite large, resulting in a massive expenditure of energy just to move them around.

A Murderous Plant that Drowns Its Victims

The pitcher plant is one of the carnivorous plants that exist out in the wild. They’re found in mostly swampy regions of the United States. The plant has a pitcher-like mechanism that it feeds with; by remaining open, rainwater can collect inside.

The pitcher’s inner walls are very slimy and covered in tiny downward-pointing hairs that prevent prey, namely insects, from getting out. After one slips in and drowns, the pitcher plant digests a new meal.

Talk About Being Sticky

The cape sundew looks like an innocent-enough plant. Some people may even liken it to sticky candy. But this little plant is anything but sweet. This plant is carnivorous, catching and feasting on unsuspecting insects. Yes, this plant species eats meat to survive! The tendrils on its stalks are considerably sticky, meaning that anything that touches it gets stuck. And then its chow time for the cape sundew plant.

This Flower Is Not Shy

Check out the naked man orchid; you can see why it got that name. The flowers look like a tiny naked man with his private’s hanging out. Can’t you make out the body-like figure with two arms, two legs, and a third leg? A little adorable and a little crude at the same time. This orchid is found in the Mediterranean region, growing along the coasts with plenty of shine and lots of moisture in the air. However, their numbers are dwindling due to their medicinal use.

Palm Trees That Kill Themselves to Thrive

The suicide palm is as dramatic a name as it sounds. These palm trees can get as tall as 60 feet, towering over everything around them. They mostly grow in Madagascar, though there are very few left that grows in the wild.

Moreover, that’s because of the way they reproduce. Once a suicide palm gets to the end of its lifespan, the tips of the stems explode in a shower of tiny flowers that can be pollinated and turned into fruit. However, this act expends so much energy from the palm itself that the tree ends up dying shortly after.

Plenty of Tiny Mouths to Feed

The Venus flytrap is most likely the first carnivorous plant you’ve heard of as a child. The type of plant that not only eats meat, but does so by trapping its prey between it’s teeth-like leaves. It’s also become a popular plant to keep around the home because of their diet. The Venus flytrap enjoys feasting on flies and other insects — anything that happens to land between its jaws. There are tiny trigger hairs inside its mouth so that it knows when to close around prey and start digesting its meal.

These Plants Won’t Suck Your Blood

The black bat flower is somewhat reminiscent of a flying bat, with its wings outstretched. Mostly found in African and Asian countries, the dark coloration of these flowers can be pretty intimidating. The long, feathery whiskers don’t help either. Don’t be intimidated by this flower, however. With some special care and expertise, it’s quite easy to grow these flowers in your backyard. From the dark shade to the unique cone-like shapes and fringe, you can see why people would love these unique plants.

Everything That Could Possibly Go Wrong

This tree is not to be messed with at any time. It didn’t earn the title “tree of death” for nothing. It might look beautiful and green, but this isn’t a tree you should ever get close to if you ever see one.

First of all, the tree itself can release a thick sap that can burn the skin, causing severe injuries. Secondly, the fruit that it produces cannot be eaten as it will kill you. Lastly, the wood of this tree should not be burned, as the resulting smoke could lead to blindness. Just stay away from this one altogether.

Not Many Plants Imitate Snakes

The cobra lily is one of those plants that actually imitates a snake. Can you tell in the picture? The head of it looks just like a coiled snake, ready to strike at its prey. But that’s not the only thing menacing about it. This plant is also carnivorous. It is another kind of pitcher plant that fills with water and has slimy sides so that insects fall in and are trapped. The pitcher also emits a scent that attracts the insects inside.

A Plant From Science Fiction

This plant looks like it belongs on another planet. Called Hydnora africana, this plant acts more like a flea or tick than a plant. It has a parasitic relationship with other plants. It latches onto their roots and grows deeper underground, eating up all of the soil’s resources. The only visible part of the plant is the flower, which emits a smell akin to feces to attract certain beetles. And once they’re close enough, the flower traps them. Surprisingly, it doesn’t eat them.

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