10 weird plants from around the world - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

10 weird plants from around the world

Updated: May 3, 2012 04:04 PM EDT
Dragon Fruit is native to the Central American region and is a quick growing, epiphytic, vine-like member of the cactus family. (©Zoonar/Thinkstock) Dragon Fruit is native to the Central American region and is a quick growing, epiphytic, vine-like member of the cactus family. (©Zoonar/Thinkstock)


By Coletta Teske

Strange and unusual plants make great conversation pieces. All around the world there are unusual flowers that will give you plenty to talk about. Some of the world's weirdest plants sport flowers with unexpected animal features. Others are masters of camouflage and pest removal. And, many plants have unusual growth habits and fragrances. Here are 10 weird and wacky plants that can be grown by any gardener.

Bat Flower

The Bat Flower is a native of South East Asia, in the yam family and comes in two colors: Tacca Chantrieri ‘Black' which is actually a dark maroon and the white Tacca Integrifolia. This tuberous plant prefers shade, produces gorgeous foliage similar to a Peace Lily and sprouts a flying bat shaped flower with whisker-like filaments that can be as long as 12 inches. Black Bat Flowers grow to 2 feet; while white Bat Flowers get as tall as 4 feet. Bat Flowers tolerate temperatures down to 50 degrees.

Dragon Arum

The Dragon Arum (Dracunculus vulgaris) is a relative of anthuriums, caladiums and philodendrons which originated in Europe along the Mediterranean. Its showy purple red spathe sends out a spadix as long as 12 inches and emits a carrion odor that only lasts for a day. Its leaves sit at the end of snakeskin patterned stalks. Dragon Arum grows best in Zones 5 to 8.

Blue Jade Vine

Blue Jade Vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys), native to the Philippine Islands, is a lush tropical vine that can be grown in a large container, trained to a trellis or grown over a pergola. The plant has large glossy leaves and blue-green claw shaped flowers that grow between 3 to 5 inches long from hanging clusters. Blue Jade Vine likes its roots in the shade, its foliage in full sun and a temperature above 60 degrees.

Princess Earrings

Princess Earrings (Dichrostachys cinerea) originated in the area around Africa, Southern Thailand and Malaysia. It is a small accent tree with an upright rounded growth habit and brightly colored pink and yellow flowers. It is well adapted as a bonsai specimen. It is hardy to 27 degrees, grows to 25 feet tall, and prefers to live in full sun and well-drained soil.

Ponytail Palm

The Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) is native to Mexico and is not really a palm tree. It is a slow-growing evergreen tree that reaches a height of 10 feet or more and has a swollen trunk base which tapers into tufts of long and narrow leaves. It makes a versatile specimen plant, container plant or houseplant. It thrives in either full sun or partial sun, is very drought tolerant and will suffer severe damage below 18 degrees.

Living Stones

Living Stones (Lithops) were discovered in South Africa and are a member of the succulent family. These plants resemble rocks and have chameleon-like characteristics; taking on the look of their surroundings. During a drought, the plant pulls itself down into the soil. It has daisy like flowers in white, yellow and peach. Grow Living Stones in a cactus soil and in full sun.

Pitcher Plant

Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes and Sarracenia species) are carnivorous plants that grow either like a vine or out of the ground. Many Pitcher Plants are native to theSouthern United States. The plant attracts sugar-feeding insects such as flies. The Trumpet Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia) are easier to grow than the Tropical Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes).

Romanesco Cauliflower

Romanesco Cauliflower has been cultivated in Italy since the 1500s. It is a fractal vegetable that looks like a cross between broccoli, cauliflower and some psychedelic computer graphics. It is actually a cauliflower with a sweet nutty flavor and creamy texture. It is a heritage vegetable and seeds can be found from a variety of sources.

Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit (Hylocereus undatus) is native to the Central American region and is a quick growing, epiphytic, vine-like member of the cactus family. The fruit grows at the end a long triangular shaped segmented stems. Before fruiting, the plant produces nocturnal fragrant white flowers. Dragon Fruit can recover from mild damage from freezing temperatures.

Mosaic Plants

Mosaic Plants (Ludwigia sedioides) are pond plants that float on the surface of the water and produce small yellow flowers. They grow small red and green leaves that have a spread of 2 feet. Mosaic Plants grow best in warmer climates where the water temperature is at least 75 degrees. In colder climates, this pond plant will survive if brought indoors during the winter months, placed in 75 degree water and provided with plenty of light. If there are fish in the pond, the fish will eat the Mosaic Plants.

This is just the beginning of the world of weird and unique plants. Strange fruit plants abound with Buddah's Hand, Rambutan, Jaboticaba and Atemoya. Adorn any garden with rare flowers from the Helicopter Flower, Hoya Lobbii and the Purple Flower Jacaranda. The home gardener will enjoy experimenting with Okinawan Purple Sweet Potatoes, Egyptian Walking Onions, and Chinese Cabbage. Whatever weird and wonderful plant you choose, it is sure to start an interesting conversation.

This article was originally posted on IdealHomeGarden.com

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