Weird Plants: Monilaria Obconica

10 weird plants from around the world

Small, big, poisonous, glow in the dark – there are weird plants to fit every adjective! In this post I’ll be talking about 10 of the most exciting plants from around the world, each with its own unique quality. Trust me, they’ll blow your mind!

Join me on the Weird and Wacky Plants Tour, where I’ll be taking you on a visual journey through the fascinating world of plants. This exciting tour is taking place around the UK, with more dates to be added. Find a venue near you here.

Without further ado, here are 10 weird plants from around the world:

1. The Plant that Looks Like a Ghost

Monotropastrum humile (Ghost Plant)

The first of my top 10 weird plants is the ‘Ghost Plant’. Occuring across East Asia, this plant is myco-heterotrophic, which means it relies on a symbiotic relationship with fungi to survive.

The plant itself lacks chlorophyll and gains sugars and nutrients from the host fungi. Part of the heather family, the plant appears almost ghostly.

2. The Cutest Plant Ever

Monilaria obconica (Bunny Ears Succulent)

The cutest plant in the world, this succulent grows in the shape of bunny ears!

Native to Namaqualand, South Africa, this plant grows on small hills in the quartz fields. The tiny, glittering pearls on each leaf are actually water storage cells.

It’s prized by collectors, especially in Asia.

3. The Most Haunting Plant

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Snapdragon is a well-known plant – but have your ever stopped to look at the seedheads?

Hauntingly, each one appears to resemble a skull! And don’t forget the rabbit movement of the blooms, either!

Though this plant orginates from the Mediterranean, it is easy to grow in a home garden.

4. Grow Your Own Naked Man

Orchis italica (Naked Man Orchid)

Native to the Mediterranean, this amazingly detailed orchid resembles a naked (endowed) man!

This plant grows in dense colonies on abandoned farmland and scrub areas, and prefers low-nutrient soils.

More than a football team of little men clothe most of the stems.

5. The Vegetarian Insect Eater

Nepenthes ampullaria (Vegetarian Pitcher Plant)

From the rainforests of South East Asia, this plant has evolved to acquire nitrogen from leaf litter and debris, not insects.

The pitcher is more of a ‘collecting cup’, without any slippery surfaces to trap insects.

Instead, insects and frogs live there, safely knowing it’s a vegetarian and has little inerest in them!

Weirded out yet? Make sure to book your tickets to my Weird and Wacky Plants Tour to see more weird plants!

Find a tour date to suit you – click here.


6. The Most Painful Plant in the World

Dendrocnide moroides (Gympie Gympie Plant)

This is the most painful plant in the world, and is natural to the rainforests of North East Australia.

The whole plant is covered in stinging neurotoxin hairs that cause pain which can last days or years. The pain is agonising – your only option is to try and remove the hairs with a wax strip. But it’s difficult!

The fruits are edible, IF you dare to pick some!

7. The Plant with Baby Plants on it

Bryophyllum daigremontiana (Mexican Hat Plant)

Hailing from Madagascar, this is a plant which grows baby plants on its leaves!

Each leaf bears baby plantlets, complete with leaves and roots. They later fall to the ground and start growing!

This plant skips the whole pollination and seed stage with ease. It’s an excellent houseplant, which can survive long period of drought.

8. The Smallest Flower in the World

Wolffia globosa (Asian Watermeal)

The smallest plant in the world – each plant is 0.2mm in diameter with no stems, leaves or roots.

A tiny flower is produced on the surface of each ‘frond’.

These plants grow in mats across calm waterways. They’re edible and nutritious, with as much protein as a soy bean! As such, they’re often used in various Thai dishes.

9. The Plant that Moves on its Own

Codariocalyx motorius (Semaphore Plant)

This is one of only a few plants capable of actual rapid movement! The smaller leaves rotate throughout the day, and this is though to maximise sunlight exposure. The movement is similar to sempahore code – hence the name. Occasionally, sound and vibration can also trigger the movements.

Widespread across Asia, Charles Darwin wrote about this fantasic plant way back in 1880.

10. The Fruit that Turns Sherbert to Candy

Synsepalum dulcificum (Miracle Fruit)

Weird Plants: Synsepalum Dulcificum

Miracle Fruit – Synsepalum dulcificum

The last, but not least, on my list of weird plants is the ‘Miracle Fruit’. Chewing this West African fruit can make any sour tast appear sweet – a true bit of Willy Wonka magic!

The miraculin molecule reacts with low pH (sour) foods and activates the sweet receptors on the taste buds. The effect lasts 30 minutes, until saliva washes it away.

Flavour-tripping parties are held with radish, pickle, hot sauce and beer buffets. It’s the fruit that has the sugar industry running scared!

Loved what you’ve seen here? You can find all these and many more on my Weird and Wacky Plants tour. Browse my tour dates here. 

I know you’ll love the Urban Jungle and the Chelsea Physic Garden– go check them out!

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