The weirdest plants are ones that grow in faraway places like the island of Madagascar off the east.
11. Silver Torch Cactus
Besides having one of the coolest names on the list, it is a very unusual cactus. Its wooly, but that isnt too spectacular. It grows flowers, but that definitely isnt too unusual. The way the flowers are shaped are unique (yes those are flowers), however other cacti flowers bloom in a similar way just not as horizontally. The thing that makes it the wackiest is that it prefers cold temperatures. It can stand frosts up to -10 degrees Celsius. It lives in the high mountains of Bolivia and Argentina, receiving strong sunlight and water in the summer. Almost no water is received in the winter though.
12. Dragons Blood Tree
Man, I wish I had a name like that. Dragons blood guy, I can see it now. Also one of the coolest looking trees on the countdown. Thirdly, its sap resembles dragons blood. That means its a deep red color, and it was prized among the ancients. It can be used for stimulants and toothpaste of all things. Luckily it survived thousands of years of everyone trying to collect it, which is saying a lot since it is only found on the island of Socotra.The canopy looks like that because its environment doesnt have much soil. The canopy acts as an umbrella to shade the bottom of the tree. This reduces evaporation. Also, the trees tend to bunch together because the shade helps seedling grow.
13. Tree Tumbo
It is considered a living fossil found in the deserts of Namibia and Angola. Thats not enough for this countdown though. It is unique in that it has one very short trunk and grows two leaves (only two) from the trunk no matter how mature it is. Oh yeah, and carbon dating tells us that theyre anywhere from 500-2000 years old (and maybe older). So the one pictured to the right will probably be alive when your great-great-great grand kids are alive. That is assuming no apocalypses happen, although Id bet these guys know how to survive much better than we do.
14. Hydnora Africana
This looks like it could be found on a different planet in a sci-fi movie. Then again, what science fiction writer could create such a monster? This grows completely underground except for the flower (flower) that has such a distinct shape. It is shaped like that in order to maximize the ability for hairs on the flower to direct beetles to its unpleasant center. Why would beetles want to go near that? Well, because it smells like poop. The dung beetle is attracted to it, and many a dung beetle have been trapped in the center. I know what youre thinking. Cydro, will you lay off with the carnivorous plants? Well, it doesnt even eat them. It traps them until the flower is completely mature. The flower then releases all the beetles with so much pollinating and reproduction potential. The male and female Hydnoras have different receptors for this pollination, so the beetles have to come across another Hydnora for it to work.
15. Wolffia Anguste
Wow theyre small! In fact, theyre the worlds smallest flowering plant! How small are they? Well Step 1) FInd an o on this page. Step 2) Imagine two specks inside that o. Two adult Wolffias could fit inside of that o! Also, if you looked back in 30-36 hours, there might be four of them! They reproduce really fast. One more thing: they dont even have leaves or stems. So theyre being discovered just about everywhere now that scientists know what they exactly are. If youve been to a pond or a river theres a decent chance youve encountered them. Find an in depth article about them here.
16. Lithops Julli
Some plants use toxins to avoid being eaten. Some use thorns, or turn into carnivores. The Lithops Julli survives by pretending to be a rock. If youre into picking up rocks in South Africa, chances are youll pick one of these up, too. The disguise seems useless because theyre flowering plants. Nope, even the flowers are disguised with abstract lines and colors. The colors of everything about the plant are atypical for this very reason.
17. Victoria Amazonica
These guys have some pretty amazing features. And they grow up to three meters across! The ends fold up to avoid overlapping with their brethren. Also, the undersides are very thorny to protects against being eaten. Their flowers are huge, beautiful, and can only be seen at night. The flowers also change color over the course of the lilys lifetime. If you see them at daybreak you can watch the flowers close up rather quickly. Lastly, if you google image them, youre likely to find a baby pictured on top of them. Apparently people have a fascination with this. Mature lilies can support up to 45 kg on them.
18. Dracunculus Vulgaris
Okay, so I promised to not mention any more plants that smell like a corpse. This one only does it for a day, and it has been described as more of a rotting smell, so does that count? Anyway, it smells to attract flies which in turn pollinate it. This one is peculiar because it is found in Europe, not Southeast Asia.
19. African Acacia
That tree looks normal. I think I saw it on The Lion King. Well, it is from the African savannah. It is also a mass murderer. Van Hoven made his discovery when asked to investigate the sudden death of some 3000 South African antelope, called kudu, on game ranches in the Transvaal. He noticed that giraffe, roaming freely, browsed only on one acacia tree in ten, avoiding those trees which were downwind. Source. The tree, when it is being eaten, gives off ethylene which can be detected by other Acacia trees up to 50 yards downwind. Those trees in turn produce enough toxin to kill an animal, say a kudu. That means the first bite of these trees, rather than making the kudu sick and stop eating, kills it. Oh, and they have an army of ant bodyguards. The trees provide housing and nectar for the ant, and the biting ants attack whatever comes near the tree. The plant does need herbivores to help spread its young, however, so thus there is one of the most complicated three-way relationships in history.
20. The Bladderwort
This one is one of the wackiest. It is found in many different varieties around the southeastern coast of the United States and then also in the state of Washington. What makes it so unique? Well, it uses little air sacs to float when it is flowering. When it isnt flowering, it stays underwater like a seasonal submarine. Also, it is a carnivore. It eats tiny little invertebrates that it sucks into its pods with a vacuum. Beat that, Venus Flytrap.Tiny fish have also been known to trigger the trap. Also, it is really good at surviving just about anywhere (unlike most carnivorous plants). In some places in the United States they have been a problem and humans are trying to get rid of them. What happens when one floats into the bank of a pond? Well, it will attach itself to the side by extending little needle-like stems. Who knew a plant could resemble a Swiss Army Knife so much?
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