Exotic Flowers

5 Tropical Flowers You Have Never Heard Of

From plants that eat rats to flowers that smell like a rotting corpse and alien looking fungi; the world of tropical flowers is filled with some … interesting examples.

While you’re unlikely to come across some of these blooms in your average florists, curiosity over these unusual flowers is still likely to exist.

In light of this, here are five of the most tropical and exotic flowers you’ve probably never even heard of:

1. The Rat Eating Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes attenboroughii)

image: coloradocarnivorousplantsociety.com
image: coloradocarnivorousplantsociety.com

This strange but amazing plant was only discovered in August 2009 in the Philippines and is believed to be the largest meat-eating plant in the world that is capable of digesting rats – yes, rats.

Scientists found the plant on Mount Victoria and have since named it after nature broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.

The plant cleverly works to lure small rodents such as rats towards its sweet nectar.

Upon leaning into the plant to drink, the rodent will fall in and become trapped within the waxy interior whereby acid like digestive enzymes work to break down the live rodent.

Known as a carnivorous plant and notorious for having evolved at least six separate times, this plant uses its leaves as its mechanism to trap potential pray.

It can be considered as similar to the Venus Fly Trap – albeit on a larger scale.



2. Pelican Flower (Aristolochia grandiflora)

image: botanicalgarden.ubc.ca
image: botanicalgarden.ubc.ca

The Pelican Flower has become known for its huge trumpet-shaped flowers and a smell of rotting meat that attracts flies and wasps to its center.

The amazing Pelican flower was first named Aristolochia Grandiflora in 1788 and is one of the largest flowers in the New World.

Each large trumpet-shaped flower will last for two days, during the first day it is in its female “phase” causing it to attract flies by its horrid smell – a smell which has been described as that of rotting meat.

The flies become trapped by the downward facing hairs in the plant which ensure pollination.

By the second day, the flower begins its male “phase” and pollen is deposited on the pollinators causing the smell to disappear; the hairs then die and the live insect is released.

Found in the tropical rainforests, the flowers central use is for medicinal purposes and food for swallowtail butterflies.

3. Flypaper Plant (Pinguicula gigantea)

image: cascadecarnivores.com
image: cascadecarnivores.com

The Flypaper plant’s natural habitat is Mexico and unlike many other plants, it has a sticky upper and underside of its leaves.

The sticky leaves work well to trap pray and ensure pollination. This plant will grab hold of anything that lands on its leaves – call it the opportunist of exotic flowers – and begin to digest it.

The Flypaper plant will also absorb nutrients from pollen via its sticky leaves.


4. Dead HorseArum Lily (Helicodiceros muscivorus)

image: pacificbulbsociety.org
image: pacificbulbsociety.org

Anything with the phrase “dead horse” in its name isn’t going to be pleasant and this flower is no exception.

Native to Corsica, Sardinia, and the Balearic Islands the flower of this plant resembles the anal area of a dead mammal and smells like rotting meat.

This flower is also unique in its ability to change it own temperature which works as a tactic to attract prey to ensure pollination and nutrients.

This plant also has a two-day pollination process – during the first day they are in their female state allowing them to attract pollen.

During the second day, the male is able to produce the pollen as the female abilities die.

When the plant is ready to pollinate it will increase its own heat and let out a rotten smell which attracts blowflies into its chamber.

5. Hydnora Africana

image: pixshark.com
image: pixshark.com

Also known as the “living dead” plant, this snake-like flower is something altogether unique and extremely exotic. This flower doesn’t have the colorful buds we’re used to, instead, it has scaly skin.

It obtains its nutrients from a host plant, meaning it will attach itself to its host plant and gain its nutrients via photosynthesis. However, like many of the most exotic flowers in the world, this plant also has a stench to go with it.

The odor is used to attract insects such as beetles and dung beetles which are its core pollinators.

This flower also creates a fruit underground that takes approximately two years to ripen. This fruit is thought to resemble a potato in both textures with a range of animals including birds and moles using this fruit as their staple source of food.

Weird and wonderful plants

The earth is full of fantastic tropical flower arrangements that are guaranteed to both shock and surprise you.

Whilst the majority of tropical flowers mentioned here are not deadly to a human, there is a vast amount out there that are so sure to watch yourself and learn as much about new plants as you can!

Featured image:  pixshark.com

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Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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