Bats, bottles and phalluses: the weird world we live in.

Whilst thinking about what I need to cover for this coming semester, I flicked through some of the work I prepared last year. A slide presentation about the world’s weirdest plants (linked to a topic we were covering) was not only interesting to research but the students enjoyed it. There are a lot of odd-looking, dangerous or strange plants out there, but these were my favourites.

The Black Bat Flower, native to Africa, Madagascar and South America. They voted this one the most interesting. The ‘whiskers’ can grow up to a foot in length. Very creepy!

The Black Bat Flower,

The Black Bat Flower,

This speckled flower is native to Indonesia, growing in the forests of Borne and Sumatra. It is known here as the Corpse Plant because it smells like rotting flesh. It’s the world’s biggest flower: up to 3 feet across and 14-24 pounds in weight. Its blossoms only last three days to a week. I would love to see one of these in the wild but apparently with deforestation they are now very rare.

Rafflesia Arnoldii, native to Indonesia

Rafflesia Arnoldii, native to Indonesia

This giant, phallic plant is also native to Indonesia and grows in the rain forests of Western Sumatra; it is also incredibly rare. The flowers also smell like rotting flesh and can grow over 3 metres high, towering over us, as the picture shows.

Amorphophallus Titanum

Amorphophallus Titanum

I love this one. The Baobab tree, native to Madagascar, Africa and Australia, is commonly known as the Bottle Tree. So named not only for their shape but because they can store around 300 litres of water! They often live for over 500 years. Fantastic aren’t they?

Baobab Tree

Baobab Tree

Last, but not least, is the Welwitschia Mirabilis, native to Namibia and parts of Angola.  Unbelievably it can live from 400 to 1500 years, grow to almost 2 metres high and 6 metres wide and live up to 5 years without water. This shot is of one of the biggest still surviving and is protected by wire fencing.

Welwitschia Mirabilis

Welwitschia Mirabilis

There are so many others out there I could have chosen like the Pelican plant: its flowers only last for two days; on the first it attracts flies by its foul smell, which are trapped inside to ensure pollination and the final day, when the odour disappears, the flies are released!  Anyway, these are my personal favourites. What do you think?

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Categories: Just Plain Blog

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5 replies

  1. Aren’t they all just wonderful! I especially like the trees! I can imagine these photos contributed to a lively classroom setting! Thanks for sharing them. 🙂

  2. I love those fat Baobab trees. They give the landscape an otherworldly, science fiction kind of look!

  3. My vote goes to the Black Bat Flower: Stunning!

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