Flowers are versatile and come in every color of the rainbow, but some are particularly bizarre. Tucked away in obscure corners of the globe, these plants aren’t likely to show up in your landscapes anytime soon.
Just to show you just how crazy various flora can look, here are some of the weirdest flowers we could find:
Darth Vader (Aristolochia salvador platensis)
This creepy skull mask flower is native to Brazil and is a woody climbing plant that blooms from April to June. The flower is said to look and smell like rotting flesh – nature’s way of attracting insect pollinators.
The “eye sockets” are thin in the back and allow light to enter, drawing in flying insects who are imprisoned until they have been trapped long enough to get covered in pollen.
Hooker’s Lips (Psychotria elata)
These “lips” are actually not the flower but a specialized leaf. The pucker-up is used to attract pollinators like hummingbirds and butterflies. A white flower emerges from the center eventually. Native to Central and South America, this plant is a popular Valentine’s Day gift there despite its unconventional name.
It has also been used for treating skin rashes, coughs and ear aches. This plant is endangered due to deforestation in its rainforest habitat.
Monkey Face Orchid (Dracula simia)
These rare orchids grow in the cloud forests of Ecuador, Columbia and Peru. Its scientific name comes from the the two spikes that are reminiscent of Bram Stoker’s Dracula fangs and its simian appearance. It gives off the scent of a ripe orange, however, not a banana.
Laughing Bumble Bee Orchid (Ophrys bombyliflora)
Widespread throughout the Mediterranean, particularly a region in Portugal, this orchid flowers from February until the beginning of April. It uses its petals to trick male insects into pollinating them by looking like female insects.
Skeleton Flower (Diphylleia grayi)
The skeleton flower is native to the colder mountainous regions of China and Japan. When the rains arrive, something truly spectacular happens to these flowers: They become transparent. The tissue of the white flowers is so thin that the moisture causes them to become ghostly clear. This perennial blooms from May to July.
Naked Man Orchid (Orchi italica)
Orchids come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but this particular one is stranger than most because each individual flower looks very similar to man who has decided to go streaking. The naked man orchid appears in large clusters in the spring and has been used since Roman times as an aphrodisiac. It is popularly used in Turkey, so much that is has now reached “threatened” status.
Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)
Probably the most popular and well-known orchid of the trade, the moth orchid is native to China and Southeast Asia. Among its 60 species, some look extremely close to a moth in flight. It can grow 1 to 3 feet tall and comes in various colors.
Snap Dragon Seed Pod (Antirrhinum)
While normal snap dragons are a garden favorite, especially for cottages, their dried seed pods are not so quaint. The eerie shrunken skulls were considered by ancient cultures to have supernatural powers. They were used to protect against witchcraft and were believed to have anti-aging powers.
African Daisy (Osteospermum ‘Whirlygig’)
This plant may look like a retro clock from the ’60s, but it is able to attract bees, butterflies and birds with its ray petals. The petals close up at night and it is fairly drought-tolerant.
Dancing Girls Impatiens (Impatiens bequaertii)
These rare impatiens’ petals also have a humanoid figure, but this one is more modest. They simply look like dancing female figures. The plant itself is relatively small, only growing a foot across. It is found in the rainforests of east Africa.
Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana Major)
Found in eastern and southern Australia, this orchid looks like a purple duck in flight. It depends on insects to pollinate it and lives in swampy shrubland and heathland. It flowers from September to January. It can’t survive elsewhere due to its symbiotic relationship with a fungus that is only found in Australia.
Happy Alien (Calceolaria uniflora)
Originally from the Tierra del Fuego in the southern part of South America, this flower is so strange that it just looks like a complete alien. It is also known as Darwin’s Slipper Flower. A cool-climate plant, it thrives in mountainous regions. The perennial is distantly related to foxglove.
Magic Dogwood (Cornus flordia subspecies urbiniana)
The Magic Dogwood is a rare Mexican version of the common American Dogwood tree. No two blooms are exactly alike. These trees grow about 20 feet tall and originate from the mountains in eastern Mexico. This tree is very hard to find.