Take a look at the below list of Top 10 Most Beautiful Strange Flowers in The World in 2016-2017. Flowers have always enjoyed a popularity extending across different cultures and time periods, being used for everything from the subject of poetry and paintings to the components of medicines or poisons. Some can be found over multiple continents, while others can only be seen briefly in the most remote regions on the planet — all are beautiful in their own ways. Here are 10 of the strangest and most attractive flowers in the world that prove flowers are so much more than pretty things people use to say “I love you” or arrange in a vase.
List of Top 10 Most Beautiful Strange Flowers in The World 2016-2017
10. Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)
Snapdragons are not an uncommon sight in home gardens, being native to many parts of the US, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Most people, however, are not aware that when the frilly clusters of candy-colored flowers go to seed and the seed pods dry up, all that remain are stalks dangling with tiny, hollow skulls the color of dead grass. Not surprisingly, they were once thought to hold magical powers — whether good or evil depended on the culture. Those who wish to avoid these eerie, skeletal grins should take better care of their gardens.
9. Red Spider Lily (Lycoris radiata)
Also known as resurrection lilies or corpse flowers, this blood red flower has narrow petals that curve downwards and long, thin stamens that radiate upwards like flames. According to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, this lily is planted on graves in Japan and is therefore considered unlucky. Because funerals in China and Japan are generally based on Buddhist traditions, both cultures see the red spider lily as a flower that directs the deceased “across the river,” i.e. into the next world. Huge fields of these flowers grow along rivers and in cemeteries, turning the landscape a startling red. Fittingly, like many other lilies, the red spider lily is as toxic as it is beautiful.
8. Sturt’s Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa or Clianthus formosus)
Sturt’s Desert Pea, first documented in the 17th century for the beauty of its deep crimson color, is now the emblem flower of South Australia. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the “formosa” in the scientific name comes from the Latin word for “beautiful.” Shaped like upright bunches of ruby red pea pods, with each “pod” (petal) bearing a shiny black jewel in its center, the attractive but alien-like flower enjoys protected status in South Australia. Its namesake discoverer, Captain Charles Sturt, described the flowers “growing amid barrenness and decay” and adding a red tinge to the empty earth — very unsettling.
7. Beehive ginger (Zingiber spectabile)
On a less menacing note, the beehive ginger fights inflammation and pain, kills microbes, and may even help treat colon cancer. Shaped like a cross between a woven beehive, a chrysanthemum, and a torch, the small cones of the plant come in gradients of colors ranging from gold to candy pink and tangerine. Despite its many uses and unoffensive hues, those who have trypophobia — the fear of patterns made up of holes — might want to avoid looking at this sometimes flesh-colored plant. The “bracts” that make up the pinecone-shaped beehive ginger will make their skin crawl.
6. Corpse Flower (Rafflesia arnoldii)
Although not the only plants to bear the name “corpse flower” (there are at least two others, including the one listed above), the flowers of the Rafflesia genus are some of the most recognizable stinky flowers in the world. According to Live Science, this enormous flower, which could grow up to 24 pounds and the size of an adult torso, only opens once a year. At that point, it releases a powerful stench that smells like rotting meat, feces, and other unpleasant elements meant to attract flies. The plant then dies. Even more unappealing, Rafflesia arnoldii lives as a parasite off rainforest vines. Why, then, is this meat-colored bloom included in a list of “beautiful” flowers? Not only does its simple, five-petal structure have a childlike look, but it is also the exact flower upon which an adorable Pokemon is based (see: Vileplume).
5. Living Stones (Lithops marmorata)
Another sweet if odd flower comes from the Lithops genus. Members of the group resemble small, round, patterned rocks — some like tiny gray brains — with yellow or white daisies growing on top. Because of the markings, those in more gray-green shades look strangely like the head of Frankenstein. Without the flowers, the succulents are easily mistaken as pebbles in the natural surroundings of their native South Africa. Today, they are popular as houseplants across the globe and are often grown in containers filled with “other” rocks.
4. Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri)
A complete physical antithesis to living stones, the bat flower is a bizarre-looking flower that is commonly purchased for Halloween. At the center of the flower is a clump of black (technically purple) blooms that sit under two petal-like leaves of the same color — the first represent the body of the bat, while the leaves look like wings. The “bat” sprouts disproportionately long threads that look like hairs, which may reach 10 inches in length. Less gloomy in appearance is the white black flower, Tacca integrifolia, which grows white wings and hairs over a purple “body.” Although the white version is less suitable for goth enthusiasts, both species are visibly stunning.
3. Ghost Plant (Monotropa uniflora)
Despite its name, the ghost plant or corpse plant is the most delicate and angelic-looking flower (and parasite) in this list. Also called an Indian pipe due to its bent, elongated shape, the ghost plant is a translucent white sometimes tinged with pale pink. This small, leafless plant lives off of trees, mainly beech, and requires some effort to seek out in dark woods. Many people mistake the ghost plant for a fungus because it is often surrounded by dead plant matter — similar to a shaggy ink cap mushroom, however, the ghost plant turns black and decays in a creepy manner soon after picking.
2. Montsechia vidalii
A simple fern-like flower, the Montsechia vidalii lived in ancient lakes 125 million to 130 million years ago. According to BBC, scientists say it was one of the first flowers ever to appear on Earth. The species is likely to be older than Archaefructus sinensis, a water plant that was previously the oldest known flower. Although researchers first found the fossils of Montsechia vidalii in the mountains of Spain and between Spain and France a century ago, they only discovered in 2015 that it was actually a flowering plant. Now extinct, this waving outlines of this freshwater flower is immortalized in limestone.
1. Strychnos (Strychnos electri)
In 2016, the scientific journal Nature Plants published photos of an ancient plant, Strychnos electri. The flowers could literally not be more rare — they have been extinct for millions of years, and scientists do not yet know much about the two fossils that have gone unnoticed until now. In addition to being daylily-shaped and perfectly preserved, the species also has the dark allure of being toxic (strychnine, once the main ingredient of rat poison, comes from members of this deadly genus). The main reason the Strychnos electri is taking top place in this list is that the only two known blossoms in existence are suspended in golden amber. What could be more beautiful?
As this list shows, there is a wealth of unusual, mysterious, and even dangerous flowers out there. With any luck, researchers will continue to uncover more in the centuries to come.