Phallus impudicus - common stinkhorn

People might say these plants are rude – I just call it botany. The plant world is a fascinating place, and it continues to surprise us with plants that look, well, a little familiar. From orchids which look like little naked men, to a phallic fungus, it’s easy to see where these plants got their inspiration.

My top 5 rude plants

Although these plants are all natural, and just a part of the crazy world we live in, this list is not for those prone to pearl-clutching! Read on for a slice of rude botany, and join me on my tour if you think you can handle more!

Gomphocarpus physocarpus – Hairy balls

Gomphocarpus physocarpus - Hairy Balls

These look a little… itchy

This species of milkweed is known for its balloon-like follicles which can reach up to three inches in diameter. You can often find several of these on each stem of the plant, and if you cut one open you’ll find it’s filled with seeds. The ‘hairs’ on these balls are attached to the seeds inside, and help carry them in the wind for seed dispersal.

Orchis italica – Naked man orchid

Orchic italica - Naked man orchid

Look closely and you’ll see that these guys a very well-endowed!

Fly to the Mediterranean, and you’re likely to see the quirky Orchis italica grouped in large clusters on your journeys. You’ll probably spot this while walking around the coast, or in grassy abandoned farmland, and not take much notice apart from to admire its pretty pink colouring. But, look closer. The petals of this orchid look like little naked men!

Psychotria elata – Lipstick plant
Psychotria elata - Lipstick plant

Pucker up!

Sometimes called ‘Hookers Lips’, this striking plant can be found in South American rainforests. The ‘lips’ are a bold red colour. So bold that it looks like someone has painted the colour on with lipstick. These unique bracts don’t last long, however. They give way to a flower, which is somewhat less impressive by comparison.

Clitoria ternatea – Vagina plant

Is that what I think it is?!

This plant is a creeper native to tropical Asia. Its distinct feature is the impressive flower which gives it its name. These flowers are often even more eyecatching, with electric blue and yellow colourings. However, the white varieties are often just as pleasing to look at… for some.

Phallus impudicus – Common stinkhorn
Phallus impudicus - common stinkhorn

Now, that IS impressive!

This rather erect fungus can actually be found in many parts of Europe and North America, and it’s actually edible if you can get past the smell (it reeks of dead flesh).

It starts off as an egg shape in immaturity, before growing rapidly into its tall, long stature within a day or two. Astonishingly, the strength it has during its growing stage is enough to push up through asphalt!

Phallus impudicus - common stinkhorn

All good things come to an end…

Can you find any rude plants which I haven’t listed here? Comment below, or come find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

  • Barry Bullock

    Very good just shows even nature has a sense of humor

    August 31, 2020

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