Bet you didn’t know about these cool florae! Check out our favourite obscure plants for this month!
More commonly known as the Tropical Pitcher Plant, the nepenthes species can be found mostly in the forests of the Philippines, Sumatra and Borneo.
Shaped like a water pitcher, this plant devours anything that can fit in its sticky, sappy opening. This can include anything from spiders, termites, worms and other insects, in the smaller buds, right up to lizards and forest rats in the larger, life-sized pitchers.
These creepy crawlers have adapted to a variety of jungle uses. Monkeys drink from them, tree shrews do their business in them and sometimes the less tasty insects may even be granted permission to live in them! Cool, huh?
Think Venus Fly Trap but sneakier! Cape Sundew is a carnivorous plant native to South Africa. Unlike the nepenthes species, this plant uses its gummy, sap-coated leaves or “arms” to hug its prey to death. It takes generally about 30 minutes for this plant to consume its feast alive, which would be a pretty merciless way to die. The Cape Sundew is also listed as one of New Zealand’s invasive plant pests.
These oversized water lillies can grow up to three metres in diameter and, with bended edges to avoid overlapping their friendly brothers and sisters, they can act as floating devices for small animals and sometimes even babies. A fully grow amazonica can support a whopping 45kgs if the weight is evenly distribued! The undersides of these magnanimously sized are covered in thorns to protect them against the nibbles of pond-dwelling animals.
These impressive giant leaves also flower with buds that change colour but can only be seen in the dark. On the first night they are white and female; the second, pink and male. The reproduction occurs when beetles are caught by the female on the first night, coated in pollen and released to inhabit the male flowers on the second evening. At daybreak, if you’re lucky, you’ll see the buds close quite quiclky as the sun emerges.
This tree is pretty spectacular. It takes its common name, the Dragon’s Blood Tree, from its sap, which presents a thick, deep red when dried into resin. In ancient times, this was a highly-prized substance and was (and still can be) used for many things, including toothpaste and as a natural stimulant. This is an incredibly rare species and can only be found on Socotra Island in the Arabian Sea. The tree’s canopy is umbrella-shaped, shading its own roots from the constant sun showers off the coasts of Somalia and Yemen.