If you’ve ever been to a show on my Weird & Wacky Plants Tour, you’ll know that things can get a little smutty. However, if you’ve ever thought your kids would enjoy learning about weird and wacky plants too, don’t worry because they definitely can! I’ve compiled a list of unusual plants for kids, so that they can find out all about the amazing world of horticulture, and share in the wackiness without any embarrassing moments.
My top 10 unusual plants for kids
Some dance, some smell like chocolate and some provide delicious snacks – but all are weird and wacky! Why not give your little ones a fun science lesson and take them through this list?
Antirrhinum majus – Skull seed heads
Have you ever looked at a Snapdragon seed head up close? It looks like a shrunken skull! Although this Mediterranean native plant produces some colourful blooms, its seed heads are super spooky.
Arachis hypogaea – Peanut Plant
Grown mostly in tropical and warm-temperate climates around the world, the Arachis hypogaea is in high demand for its fruit – known to most of us as peanuts. The delicious snack part of this plant grows in pods beneath the soil, so they have to be dug up for harvesting.
Bryophyllum daigremontiana – Chandelier Plant
A plant with tiny plants growing on its leaves? It could only be the Bryophyllum daigremontiana – but if that’s a mouthful for your kids, try calling it by one of its other names, like the Mexican hat plant, or the mother of thousands. The tiny plants can drop off the mother and grow into adult plants themselves!
Codariocalyx motorius – Dancing Plant
It may not walk or talk, but it certainly can dance! The Codariocalyx motorius is known as the dancing plant because it rapidly moves its leaves to find the best angle for the most sunlight.
What makes it even more weird and wacky is that SOUND can also make it move!
Drosera species – Sundew
This carnivorous plant looks a little like an alien life form thanks to its tentacle-like leaves. These leaves are actually covered in sticky plant hairs which attract and entrap insects to ‘eat’.
Lithops species – Living Stones
These plants make look like little pebbles, but they’re actually alive! They blend in with rocks and small stones around them for protection from grazing herbivores. Amazingly, this plant can store enough water to survive for months without rain.
Stapelia gigantea – Carrion Flower
We’ve talked about the great characteristics of Stapelias before on this blog, but this plant is most widely known for its smell. It’s a carrion flower, which means that it smells like rotting flesh. Its hairy, leathery texture is also much like an animal’s skin, and for an added bonus, it attracts flies as a pollinator!
Wolffia globosa – Watermeal
Ever seen a plant with no leaves, stem or roots – and less than 1mm wide? It could only be Wolffia globosa, the smallest plant in the world! Also known as Watermeal, this plant grows in the thousands in bodies of fresh water. It makes a nutritious meal, as is often found in Thai cuisine.
Nemesia cheiranthus Masquerade – Masquerade Nemesia
Not only does this plant look exotic with its happy yellow and white petals, it also smells like coconut! Take a closer look and you might see a face with horns staring back at you…
Cosmos atrosanguineus – Chocolate Cosmos
Funnily enough, cocoa plants don’t smell like chocolate, but the Cosmos astrosanguineus does! Native to Mexico, the ‘Chocolate cosmos’ has velvety-textured dark red petals, and is actually edible.
What do you think of these unusual plants for kids? Comment your favourite plant in the section below!