With so much to explore and limited time to do so, sometimes we fail to notice somewhat basic things. For instance, unless you are a flora expert or genuinely invested, you wouldn’t see the beautiful and scary plants available globally.
There’s genuinely so much to see from the tropical to the deserts, highlands to oceans. On the other hand, we understand that you might not have the time and means to travel or watch channels relevant to this topic. This is why we bring you a detailed list of some of the world’s most weird and wonderful plants.
1. Bleeding Tooth Fungus
Also known as Devil’s tooth, bleeding Hydnellum, or red-juice tooth, the bleeding tooth fungus is actually a fungus, just like mushrooms. This species is unique because it can ooze a red fluid as if pricked with a needle.
Scientists, however, explain the fluid as similar to the excess water that seeps out at the edges of regular plant leaves. The species vary in size, with some as short as 0.5cm while others as tall as 6cm. The diameters can grow to 2cm for adult bleeding tooth fungus.
You can find the devil’s tooth in the forested and mountainous regions of South Korea, Europe, Iran, and some areas of North America. The plants rely on a symbiotic relationship with the coniferous trees.
In case you are wondering, bleeding tooth fungus is not poisonous. However, it is so bitter that eating it is not worth it.
2. Prayer Plant
Scientifically known as “maranta leuconeura,” prayer plant has broad, oval-shaped leaves with exciting features. The leaves remain flat and wide during the day when the sun shines. However, as soon as the night comes, they fold upright, imitating human hands clasped together as if praying.
Even though scientists have an explanation for this behavior (nyctinasty), the plants are lovely to watch. Imagine having to leave work early in time to see the broad leaves clasping together. And yes, some people have prayer plants in their homes.
While there is no explanation for why prayer plants fold, most suspect they don’t want to collect rainwater. Instead, it flows directly to the roots. Today, some communities plant these plant species in cemeteries. They symbolize prayers that they believe the dead need so much.
3. Corpse Flower
You know, it’s not every day that you see anything compared to a dead body. For the corpse flower, it’s not the look or health; it’s its stench! From a distance, you might mistake it for a banana flower placed upside down. A closer look will let you know why you should never have approached it.
This flower is famous for its pungent odor. Perhaps a defense mechanism to put away its predators. It smells so bad that it makes a decomposing body feel like lavender. Scientifically known as Amorphophallus titanium, this species takes about a decade to bloom.
Besides its odor, the corpse flower has the largest unbranched inflorescence. A grown plant can reach 3 meters high, hence its name, Amorphophallus, which loosely translates to “giant” in Greek.
4. Saguaro Cactus
Did you know the saguaro cactus can store up to 5,000 liters of water? This is more than most budget commercial water tanks can hold. And there is more; the giant cactus, as the natives refer to it, can live up to 200 years. This is more than any human can in the modern era.
Over time, saguaro cactus usually grow “arms” that help store water. The more extensions, the higher the amount of water the plant can store. It differs from other species, such as the barrel cactus, because of its size and height.
Unfortunately, too much heat can kill saguaro cactuses even with their massive sizes. For instance, in Phoenix, where the plants naturally grow, the temperatures are so high that there are reports of the cacti dying.
5. Venus Fly Trap
“Name an example of a carnivorous plant.” Do you remember this question back in school? One of its answers was the Venus flytrap, scientifically known as Dionae muscipula. It is iconic and has since inspired pop culture such as Pokémon.
The species has unique features that attract, trap, digest, and absorb insects. Interestingly, since the Venus fly trap is a plant, it makes food through photosynthesis. It, therefore, doesn’t consume insects for hunger satisfaction. Instead, it does so for essential nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen.
One of the scientific and evolution theory great, Sir Charles Darwin, described it as one of the most beautiful plants in the world. Of course, to us, the Venus fly trap is impressive, to say the least. However, insects that are prey for this predator wouldn’t have the same opinion.
You probably know the sunflower plant and might be wondering why we have mentioned it here. While it is not weird, the species is very unique, but its features often go under the radar. It’s common knowledge that flowers need sunlight to survive. However, the sunflower’s relationship with the sun is one of a kind.
As the sun rises, the sunflower plant is always there to “meet” it. As the earth moves and the sun’s position changes, so does the sunflower plant head. At noon when the sun is high, the sunflower will face up; when it sets, it will retire with it. In the morning, the journey starts again.
Of course, the sunflower “following” the sun is what we see. On the other hand, scientists have a different explanation for this phenomenon. They say that the actions result from some parts of the flower growing faster than others.
As we were busy “praising” the Venus fly trap as a majestic carnivorous plant back in school, the butterwort plant lay in silence. Coming from the family Lentibulariaceae, butterworts are naturally insect-eating plants. Even though they have different physical features, they are equally as good as the Venus fly traps.
Butterworts use their conspicuous, beautiful-looking leaves to lure and capture insects. Once their prey approaches and lands on one of their leaves, butterworts release a sticky substance that makes it impossible to escape.
The species adapt to dry winters by morphing into succulents. A feature that makes them unique from other species. Butterworts are common between Canada and Antarctica, with most species concentrated in Central America and Mexico. They have an average lifespan of up to 5 years.