Ever hear of a carnivorous plant? What about a flower that smells like rotting meat when it blooms? It may sound like something out of a horror movie or science fiction novel but these plants really exist. Here is a list of actually real but totally unbelievable plants.
10. Amorphophallus titanium, also known as the corpse flower, tops our list not just because it only blooms 3-4 times during its 40 years of life but also because it releases an odor that is much like rotting meat when it does bloom. It is also not difficult to see how it got its name upon closer examination.
9. The Welwitschia Mirabilis, which is located in Nambibia, is one of the creepiest looking plants. With only two leaves that continue to grow until they resemble something that looks more like an alien than a plant, this is definitely one of the world's strangest plants. The life span of the Welwitschia is between 400-1500 years and is believed to date back to the Jurassic Period.
8. Heliamphora chimantensis which grows in Venezuela is a carnivorous plant that traps its prey, mostly insects, in the roll of its leaves. Once the prey has been trapped it is digested in a pool of bacteria. The plant absorbs nutrients from the decaying insects.
7. The Drosera capensis is one of the more delicate looking plants on the list. However, as this pretty plant proves, looks can be deceiving. This native to South Africa traps its prey by a secreting a sticky substance on its leaves. Once its prey is stuck, the long tentacle like leaf folds over to consume it.
6. The Rafflesia arnoldii, which is native to Southeast Asia, looks like something out of Willy Wonka's garden. This plant makes the list because it doesn't produce any leaves, stem or roots. Instead it lives as parasite on the Testrastigma vine. Only its flower can be seen.
5. The Ficus aurea, also known as the strangler fig, is native to southern Florida. This fig literally strangles the life out of the unfortunate host tree it decides to grow upon. Not exactly a welcome guest.
4. Lithops, or living stones, are one of nature's more creative plants. These have evolved to look like stones due to the harsh conditions of their native climate in Namibia and South Africa. Because of long periods of drought, the leaves are made to retain moisture. Their stone like appearance also helps camouflage them from animals looking for dinner.
3. The Wollemi Pine of Australia was believed to be extinct for a number of years. It has only been 14 years since it was discovered in a national park just outside of Sydney. It is believed to be one the oldest trees in existence.
2. The Mimosa pudica of Brazil not only produces unusual flowers but also unusual movements. Known as the Sensitive Plant, the mimosa pudica leaves will close and droop when they are touched. It displays the same behavior when it is shaken or dehydrated.
1.Dionaea Muscipula, or the Venus fly trap, wraps up our list as one of the world's strangest plants. Two mouth-like leaves shut within a matter of seconds, when the hairs on the inner part of the leaves are disturbed. It the takes the plant about 10 days to digest its prey at which time the leaves reopen, waiting for its next victim.
Mother Nature is not only responsible for some of the most beautiful creations on the planet, but also some of the most unusual. So, the next time you read about that carnivorous plant and think it is just a work of fiction, remember Mother Nature has an odd sense of creativity.