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A Horticulturist's Halloween

Posted by The Sill on


Happy Halloween: Meet 12 Strange And Bizarre Plants Worthy of Boos + Screams! 


1. Buddha's Hand (Citrus medica)

This extremely fragrant citron-variety of shrub or small tree has long thorny branches from which hang fruit segmented into finger-like sections. The usually juiceless and seedless fruit is commonly used in cooking for its zest.

2. Split Rock (Pleiospilos nelii)

The common name of this flowering succulent refers to the appearance of its leaves. Stemless, there is a deep fissure in the middle, with two or four opposite leaves surrounding it. Its resemblance of a small rock might have evolved as a defense mechanism against predators.

3. Brain Cactus (Mammillaria elongata Cristata)

The eery shape of this cactus generally occurs due to injury at a young age or genetic predisposition. Along it can expand and contract, its sharp edges should be handled with care.

4. Old Man Cactus (Cephalocereus senilis)

This tall, columnar species has is categorized by a shaggy coat of long, white hairs. Historically, the hair has been used as a cheap alternative to cotton. As the plant ages, it beings to lose its silvery mane.

5. Sticks On Fire (Euphorbia tirucalli)

This hydrocarbon plant produces a poisonous latex which can be converted to the equivalent of gasoline. The white, milky substance is used in traditional medicine in many cultures - yet research shows it might actually suppress the immune system.

6. Monkey Cups (Nepenthes)

This carnivorous plant has dangling pouches filled with a syrupy fluid that captures and drowns prey. Its name refers to the fact that monkeys have been observed drinking rainwater from them in their natural habitat.

7. Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)

The carnivorous flytrap's leaves are trigged by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces that help them know to snap shut, trapping prey. Although the speed of closing leaves vary depending on the environment and type of prey - it can generally be used as an indicator of the plant's health.

8. Dracula Orchid (Dracula sergioi)

The name Dracula means "little dragon", which refers to the two long spurs of the sepals enclosing the orchid's piranha-like mouth.

9. Ghost Plant (Monotropa uniflora)

This herbaceous perennial plant, also known as the corpse plant, is commonly white or pale pink with black flecks. It does not contain chlorophyll - instead it generates energy through parasitism - making it great for dark environments, like dense forest floors.

10. Doll's Eyes (Actaea pachypoda)

This herbaceous perennial plant and its globular white fruit with black, iris-like center are poisonous to humans. The fruit contains cardio-genic toxins which have a sedative effect on the human cardiac muscle tissue - but are harmless to birds, the plant's primary seed dispersers!

11. Black Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri)

A species of flowering plant with rare, black bat-shaped flowers that can grow up to a foot across while its 'whiskers' can grow over two feet long.

12. Devil's Tooth (Hydnellum peckii)

This inedible fungus has a mutually beneficial relationships with its host trees - it gives out minerals and amino acids in exchange for carbon. When the fungus is moist and healthy, its fruit bodies 'bleed' a bright red juice, while poor health and age make it become brown and nondescript.


(Images sourced from Wikipedia Commons


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