Trypophobia is a weird fear (or morbid curiosity) we never knew we had until the internet came along. And, luckily or unluckily for us Plant Geeks, there are lots of chances for us to get our fill of trypophobia in the natural world.
What is trypophobia?
Trypophobia is a fear of clusters of holes. It can make sufferers feel sick, or like your skin is crawling. In the worst cases, it can induce feelings of panic – and if that’s you, then I advise you stop reading!
But for some of us, clusters of holes can just provoke our sense of curiosity for the weird and unusual. And as I said, there are many opportunities for that when it comes to plants.
Spores, vivipary, seed clusters – there are many trypophobic triggers in the plant world. Let’s take a look…
1. Lotus pod
This is one of the most popular trypophobia triggers, and people have even gone so far as to Photoshop Lotus pods onto the human body. These harmless pods hold the seeds for the beautiful Lotus flower. You can even eat the seeds, which contain lots of protein and B vitamins.
This image, posted on Reddit by AmoosingCows, shows a condition called vivipary in a strawberry. Vivipary occurs when a plants seeds begin growing while they’re still attached. Now, strawberries already cause a little bit of trypophobia, but this phenomenon brings them to a whole new level!
3. Monstera deliciosa
Some of you might be thinking that this popular houseplant doesn’t belong on this list, as the holes in its leaves aren’t quite ‘cluster-like’. However, it’s enough for some. The holes in Monstera plants resemble Swiss cheese (hence its common name, the ‘Swiss cheese plant’) which happens to be another trigger for this phobia.
This happy summer favourite has sinister trypophobic properties. ‘But it doesn’t have any holes!’ you cry. Well, sometimes trypophobia can be triggered by clusters of lumps too, or in this case, seeds. This close up of a sunflower’s seeds just looks a little bit wrong, despite its happy yellow petals.
5. Xerocomellus zelleri
There are plenty of trypophobic phenomenons in the world of fungi, but the underside of this Xerocomellus zelleri is pretty bad. These holes are actually the pores of this edible mushroom, which can be found on the west coast of North America.
Do you have anymore trypophobic suggestions for this list? Comment below!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.