With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to showcase some of the creepy and gruesome members of the floral and plant world.
...and no, I am not one of them!!!
Flowers are not always beautiful. When you think of flowers, the last thing you think of is scary’, right?! While most flowers are quite beautiful, some are nondescript and some are so creepy they look like they came out of a 1950’s horror film.
Cue scary music…Bwaaaaahahahaha!
While some of these are beautiful in a dark and twisted sort of way, some are downright gross, so be warned and continue if you dare!!!
The black bat flower or “tacca chantieri” is native to the Southeastern regions of Asia such as Southern China, Malaysia, and Thailand. This nearly pitch-black plant definitely has one of the more chilling appearances. There aren’t many flowers that have ears and whiskers, but the bat flower does. The plant grows up to 12 inches across with long whiskers that grow up to 28 inches. It is known for its bat shape hence its common name.
I find this one extremely beautiful and fascinating. Can you imagine a Halloween wedding with these in the bridal bouquet?! Wow!
Doll’s Eye is native to eastern North America and while the flowers are quite pretty and dainty, it is the berries that are kind of creepy. They look like eyeballs on a stick. Another scary aspect of this plant is that it is very toxic and ingesting the berries or stems can be fatal.
Walking through a forest full of these wouldn’t exactly be a welcoming sight on an dark and foggy fall evening.
If you ever find yourself in Western Sumatra, be sure to look up this guy, The Corpse Flower, Amorphophallus Titanum. Why Corpse Flower you ask? A fitting name to be sure since it smells like well…a rotting corpse! Mmmmm. But the carrion beetles and flies sure love it. The flower itself can grow up to 10’ tall and is the largest unbranched flower in the world. It blooms once every 40 years only for 4 days!
That sure is a lot of stink!
Another sweet scented, I mean rotten-flesh scented flower is Clathrus Archeri or Octopus Stinkhorn You know, flowers really shouldn't have tentacles.
I think I’ll name this one Ursula.
There is nothing really scary about Witch Hazel at all but I included it here because of the name. This is one of my favorite shrubs for the garden. It blooms in mid-winter and has an intoxicating sweet fragrance and really cool acid green, orangey brown or burgundy crinkly flowers.
Snapdragons???!! What is so scary about a snapdragon? Well yes, the flowers themselves are quite lovely but it is when the flowers fade and the seed pods form, that’s when things get spooky. The dried seed pods resemble tiny skulls, tiny human skulls! Tiny human skulls on a stick!! In olden days it was believed that the snapdragon had supernatural powers; the power to ward off evil, be it a deception or curse. Supposedly, in Germany, it was hung above a baby’s bed to ward off evil spirits and even witches!
I am not sure what this one is nor do I really want to know. Not a flower I would want to run into in a dark alley or anywhere. That's for sure!
Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)
Though not a flower, this is probably the best known insect eating plant in the world. In fact, this carnivorous plant’s features are so unique and distinct, they’ve even starred in some horror movies. The flytrap’s “jaws” (actually the plant’s leaves) snap shut in less than a second. Though it’s native to North and South Carolina, the plant is grown worldwide. They are quite effective and keeping your house or in my case, floral studio, free of flies and other small insects.
This unusual flower is actually an orchid that is native to Ecuador and only on the slopes of Mt. Pichuncha. It gets it’s name because it resembles a hooded vampire or dragon.
In my opinion, flowers with faces are the scary clowns of the plant world!
Another orchid related to the Dracula Vampira though a little less creepy, is the Monkey Faced Orchid, Dracula simia. Also native to Ecuador, these guys really do look like monkeys and when they bloom they smell like ripe oranges. Go figure.
Cute as they maybe, I still think flowers should not have faces.
Darth Vader Flower
Seeing these amazing, slightly sinister-looking blooms, you’ll understand why the plant deserves to be tagged as Darth Vader plant. Aristolochia Pipevine is a woody climber native to the humid meadows and soggy flood plains of Brazil. The helmet-like shape and purple coloration of the blooms, combined with the powerful aroma of rotting flesh, attract insect pollinators. These visitors fly through the Darth Vader plant’s luminous ‘eyes’ which are lined with sticky hairs that imprison the unfortunate guests long enough to cover them with pollen. They are then released to fly out and pollinate more blooms. Each bloom lasts only a single week.
Alonsoa unilabiata also known as the Mask Flower, is native to Central and western South America, from Mexico south to Peru and Chile. While he may look menacing and evil, he is really quite harmless.
Rafflesia is a parasitic flowering plant found in Southeastern Asia. It has no stem, leaves, and roots but only a flower. It weighs up to 22lbs and can grow over 39 inches in diameter.
If you are arachnophobic, then growing these orchids may not be for you.
Bleeding Tooth (Hydnellum peckii)
Is a beneficial yet poisonous fungus that 'bleeds' from its spores and has teeth lined up along the bottom. It grows throughout North America but can be found all over the world. The fungus attaches itself to tree roots and them with minerals and amino acids. Other nicknames for this fungus include 'strawberries and cream' and 'The Devil’s Tooth.'
Ummm…no thank you!
What smells like feces and looks like a vagina with fangs? Yep, you got it, the Hydnora Africana or Jackal Food. This parasitic plant is often classified as one of the strangest plants in the world and we can see why.
Most of the plant actually lives underground feeing on its host plant and sends up these ‘flowers’ to reproduce.
This evil looking seed pod has probably been added to your cheese for color.
Aseroe Rubra or Sea Anemone Fungus
Add another not so sweet smelling plant to the list. Not only does this fungus smell horrible, it also attracts flies; which in turn help it grow.
Purple Pitcher Plant & Cobra Lily
These carnivorous plants capture their prey, consisting of insects and small animals, and then slowly digests them in their stomach acids. Ugh.
Well I hope you enjoyed your tour through the haunted house of the plant world.
All this reminds me of Little Shop of Horrors, one of my favorite musicals. In the words of Seymour, Audrey, Orin and Mr.Mushnik….
’DON"T FEED THE PLANTS!’
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