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12 Halloween-Worthy Plants

Posted by The Sill on

As plant people, we truly appreciate each plant's unique beauty. And we know how capable Mother Nature is in surprising us. So to set the tone for this Halloween, we thought it would be interesting to round up our top 12 strange and bizarre plants we feel are worthy of boos and scares. We call it a horticulturist's halloween

(Images via Pinterest & Wikipedia)


1. Ghost Plant (Monotropa uniflora)
- also known as the corpse plant or Indian pipe
- a herbaceous perennial plant
- is commonly white with black flecks and pale pink coloration
- does not contain chlorophyll (instead it generates energy through parasitism)
- can grow in very dark environments, for example dense forests

2. Devil's Tooth (Hydnellum peckii)  
- an inedible fungus
- has mutually beneficial relationships with host trees (gives out minerals and amino acids in exchange for carbon)
- when moist and healthy, its fruit bodies "bleed" a bright red juice
- become brown and nondescript as they age

3. Black Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri)  
- a species of flowering plant
- rare in that it has black somewhat bat-shaped flowers
- can grow up to 12 inches across, while its 'whiskers' can grow up to 28 inches long

4. Doll's Eyes (Actaea pachypoda)  
- a herbaceous perennial plant
- has globular white fruit with black "iris"
- both fruit and plant are poisonous to humans
- fruit contains cardiogenic toxins which have a sedative effect of the human cardiac muscle tissue
- (but harmless to birds! the plant's primary seed dispersers)

5. Dracula Orchid (Dracula sergioi)  
- the name Dracula means "little dragon", referring to the two long spurs of the sepals
- has a piranha-like mouth in the center
- prefers darks and cool environments

6. Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula
- a carnivorous plant
- a flytrap's leaves, trigged by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces, snap shut trapping prey
- long fringe prevents the prey from escaping
- speed of closing varies depending on environment and type of prey, but can be used as an indicator of the plant's general health

7. Monkey Cups (Nepenthes)
- a carnivorous plant
- its dangling pouches are filled with syrupy fluid that capture and drown prey
- prefer humid environments (hot days and colder nights)
- name refers to the fact monkeys have been observed drinking rainwater from them

8. Sticks On Fire (Euphorbia tirucalli
- also known as Naked Lady, Pencil Tree, or Milk Bush
- prefers a dry climate
- is a hydrocarbon plant that produces a poisonous latex which can be converted to the equivalent of gasoline
- used in traditional medicine in many cultures yet research shows it suppress the immune system

9. Old Man Cactus (Cephalocereus senilis
- species of cactus
- tall, columnar species with clusters of (usually unbranched) stems
- has a shaggy coat of long, white hairs
- as the plant ages the stem begins to lose its silvery white covering
- the hair is used as a cheap alternative to cotton

10. Brain Cactus (Mammillaria elongata Cristata)
- resembles a brain
- the eery shape generally occurs due to injury at a young age or genetic predisposition
- can expand and contract
- has sharp spines/edges, handle with care

11. Split Rock (Pleiospilos nelii
- a species of flowering plant
- its name refers to the appearance of its leaves (has a deep fissure in the middle)
- produces a new pair of leaves every year
- is stemless with two or four opposite leaves
- its resemblance of a small rock might have evolved as a defense mechanism against predators

12. Buddha's Hand (Citrus medica)
- a fragrant citron variety
- a shrub or small tree with long thorny branches from which hang fruit segmented into finger-like sections
- it is extremely fragrant
- commonly used in cooking for its zest (the fruit is usually juiceless and seedless)


Happy Halloween! 

P.S. We know this list does not exhaust even a small fraction of the variety of foliage out there! Have a plant species you think we should check out? Let us know below. 

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