Nature is full of surprises. There are lots of plants and trees that can make your mouth fall open in shock. And that is not surprising, since there are around 350,000 species of plants; and these are only the ones that have been registered! Another 250,000 new species are currently under investigation. From this huge list of plants, we have chosen the ones we think have some of the strangest and most surprising looks and talents. Believe me, this is an interesting bunch!
1. Welwitschia Mirabilis
This desert plant is only found in Namibia and Angola, where it is threatened with extinction. The special thing about this plant? It can live up to 2000 years. And even though it looks like a pretty big plant, it only has two leaves. In African, this plant is also called 'two-blister canine death', which actually rolls much nicer off the tongue.
Credit: Rosemary Walden
2. Basketball Plant
The name says it all: this plant resembles a basketball. It’s scientific name is Euphorbia Obesia and it lives in South Africa. And of course in the living room of Michael Jordan.
Credit: Frank Vincentz
3. Venus Flytrap
The famous carnivorous plant. With it’s cheerful colours, it lures innocent flies to come and have a look before quickly closing it’s “jaws” on them. A very useful replacement for a fly swatter.
Credit: National Geographic
4. Mimosa Pudica
Known by many names: Shy plant, touch-me-not and the zombie plant. It may not look very special at first but when touched, the leaves of the mimosa pudica close quickly, as a protection mechanism. After a few minutes, the leaves open quickly once again as if nothing had happened. There is no easier form of entertainment!
Baobab, or Monkey Bread Tree, is mainly found in Africa and has become famous there due to its extremely thick trunk. It uses it's broad trunk to store water, just like a camel. Some of the largest Baobab tress have been found to have a trunk 34 meters wide. Definitely not a tree to plant in your backyard!
Credit: Nadia Salmi
6. False Rose of Jericho
While it’s scientific name of Selaginella lepidophylla you will quickly forget, its special feature, on the other hand is worth remembering. This desert plant can completely dry out and roll up into a ball to survive for years. When it comes into contact with water again, it rolls out within a few hours, regains its green colour, and continues its life cycle once again.
7. Suicide Palm
A rather lurid name, but there is a nice story behind it. Only found in Madagascar, this Tahina palm grows like a normal palm for around 50 years. Then, in an outburst of life, the tree suddenly blossoms and then dies. Going out with a bang, we can say.
Credit: John Dransfield
8. Underground Orchid
Sure, this plant is related to the orchid in your windowsill but the similarities stop there. The underground orchid has the special property of blossoming and then living completely underground. Instead of relying on sunlight, it attaches and uses the nutrients from the brushwood, a common shrub found in Australia.
Credit: University of Western Australia
9. Coral Tree
The coral tree is a beautiful tree that you can find in several places throughout the wild. They are best known for their strikingly coloured flowers, which resemble coral. And best yet, you don't even have to wear a wet suit to see them!
Credit: Forest & Kim Starr
10. The Dancing Plant
It’s name gives it away: this plant has moves. The leaves of the dancing plant respond to vibrations in the air, making it appear to move along with music. It is mainly found in tropical regions in Asia, where it is commonly used for gardening and medicinal use.