The weirdest plants are ones that grow in faraway places like the island of Madagascar off the east.
1. Corpse Flower
It smells strongly like a rotting corpse, and it looks like it belongs in the movie Avatar. I would imagine that the smell helps it not be eaten, but despite this the plant is still very rare. In other words, its endangered. Coming from the forests of Sumatra, its not actually one big flower. Its thousands upon thousands of little male and female flowers. These exert oils, while the center collects heat. The heat of the oils create the smell that attracts beetles that will pollinate it. In case you were wondering, a mature one can weigh 200 pounds.
2. Elephant Foot Yam
Guess who this little cute guy is related to? Yep, the corpse flower. Not only are they related, they also share many characteristics. One happens to be that this guy also smells like a corpse. These elephant foot yams vary in color, as well. Some are pure white. This one might have the edge on the corpse flower in wackiness because it is eaten. In one Southeast Asian culture they are grown as a delicacy, while in another they are known as what we might call a last resort to eat.
3. Rafflesia Arnoldis
Guys, I cant believe it either. But I promise this is the last plant that smells like a corpse. This one is unique in that it is the worlds largest single flower. It is also wacky because it has no stems, leaves, or roots--so its pretty bad at actually being a plant. Its related to fungi, but according to wikipedia, is a plant. It is also commonly referred to as the corpse flower for the smell. Want to find one so you can plant it in your backyard? Me too, however these are extremely hard to find. Scientists arent even sure if theyre endangered or not. They live a majority of their lives as teeny tiny little flowers until they explode into that to the right for a few days.
4. Venus Flytrap
Its carnivorous. Not many plants eat things besides sunlight. Even fewer (as in about four species) are capable of rapid movement. This makes the Venus Flytrap seem like, I dont know, it might be from another planet or something... Anyway, you might wonder how the trap is triggered. Well, they have trigger hairs. These trigger hairs trigger the trap when two are touched within 20 seconds of each other. Why does it have jaw looking things? Those act like interlocking fingers, or to the insect inside, prison bars. They do their best to restrain the insect from escaping. Healthier Venus Flytraps close quicker on their prey, but scientists are kind of unsure about the mechanism. Then the rest is done with digestive juices.
Monkeys have been spotted drinking from it. Rats have been spotted partially digested in it. And some other stuff too (no, it doesnt smell like a corpse). These plants come in all sorts of varieties and are predominately found in the same regions as the #1,2, and 3 plants that youve already read about. So if you want to see some interesting plants, go to the Sumatra and Borneo forests. The diet of these things includes just about anything the right size that can fit in them. That means lizards, termites, spiders, worms, etc. can be digested by the Nepenthes. They also have some complex relationships with the ecosystem. Flies and mosquitoes have been known to lay larva on them. Much of their diet comes from feces of the tree shrew species (a mammal), and ants have been known to eat out of it. Sound like Im making this all up?
6. Cape Sundew
Like I mentioned before, there are more carnivorous plants out there than you probably realized (more than I realized, anyway). The Cape Sundew eats insects not with rapid movements, or weird pitcher shaped appendages, but instead by slowly wrapping its arms (by that I mean leaves) around prey. This is slow, on average about 30 minutes, and probably fairly cruel. This is also the first plant on the list that is very good at reproducing. Not only can it reproduce, but it can survive large fluctuations of temperature and water availability as well. So thats why humans like to keep them, because they allow for carelessness when they are being grown. It is originally from South Africa and is invading New Zealand (Its hard to rid a large area of them!).
7. Strangler Fig
The Strangler Fig is the biggest mooch of the plant kingdom. Not only does it mooch, it kills. There are many different species of Strangler Fig, but they all are basically the same thing: that roommate who steals all of your food. Or that guy at a party who steals all of your beer. Or that guy in class that copied your homework and got a better grade. Only he kills you (could be a her, Im not sure). Anyway, they are dispersed usually by hitch hiking on birds and being dropped on the canopy of trees of a dense forest. They are wacky because they will grow up and down. Down so they can choke the living tree of all the nutrients, and up for sunlight. They often outlive the host tree by years, sometimes forming hollow cores that house the spirit of the old tree.
8. Bears Head Tooth Mushroom
Well just look at it. Thats a mushroom. If youre not convinced that it should be on this list... it also fights cancer, stimulates nerve growth, and helps kill roundworms. How do we know? Well some really brave soul found out it was edible. Cydro still wouldnt put it on his sandwiches no matter what it does. Oh yeah, it can grow branches too. Im not sure how they came up with the name though. Looks more like a brand new mop to me.
9. Witches Butter
Well, I thought it looked funny. It also reproduces by both sexual and asexual production. If you do happen to try to eat it, youll find that it has no flavor. Witches butter is currently being studied because of unique biological processes that it undergoes. Some believe that they will prove to have health benefits. It grows on recently fallen and dead trees.
10. Drakaea glyptodon
Well, it pollinates in a unique way. Does that red thing on the side look like it belongs there? When you look even closer, whats that black thing on top of the red thing? Well, youll find this appendage on all of the Drakaea glyptodon that you come across. Female wasps happen to be flightless. They also happen to climb on top of plants to S.O.S. until the male picks them up and does his thing to reproduce with them during flight. The Drakaea glyptodon mimicks the female wasps body. The male wasp, being a dumb horny guy, will pick up the fake female wasp. Not only does he have to pick it up, but he has to come into contact with another Drakaea glyptodon to actually pollinate the plant. So he has to be fooled twice. Now you know how they came up with which was the male and which was the female.
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