Plants can be just as scary as anything else Mother Nature can throw at us…
Here are 5 of the World’s Most Monstrous Plants that you should definitely avoid this Halloween:
The Vampire Vine
This particular species of the Cuscata vine has the positively vampiric skill of sniffing out and sucking the nutrients out of nearby plants. Soy beans, coffee beans and grape vines are all at risk of these vicious vines (which are closely related to the much friendlier Morning Glory). However, there is one pant that has figured out a way to stop the Cuscata in it’s tracks. The C. reflexa Tomato plant, from Asia, has the uncanny skill of reflexively forming an impenetrable scan, preventing the cuscata from penetrating with his sharp fangs.
Find out more about the ‘Vampire Vine’ here at ScienceNews.org
The Venus Fly Trap
A long used trope in the realms of video games and science-fiction movies alike, Dionaea muscipulae may only be able to grow up to 15cm tall, but their 3cm wide mouths still have the potential to swallow up and digest all manner of insect-life. Each leaf of this killer-plant has two primary regions. The ‘leaf-base’ functions like most other plant leave, carrying out photosynthesis so that the plant can continue to grow and the ‘lamina’ that composes the trap itself. Within each trap lies between two or five ‘trigger hairs’ which, if touched, cause the trap to shut tight – trapping any unfortunate insect souls inside.
Discover more about the Venus Fly Trap here at ScienceMag.org
The Carrion Flower is both disgusting by name and by nature. Strictly speaking, the term applies to any plant that gives off the scent of rotting flesh or death. The most horrific example of this would have to be the Amorphophallus titanum – it’s Greek name is derived from the words ‘giant misshapen phallus’ – rather on the nose, but succinct nonetheless. They can weigh up to 50kg, although there have been some specimens known to grow to almost twice that weight. Why does it smell so bad, you ask? The smell of rotting has long been something that pollinators find attractive – mistaking the carrion flower for a dead animal, carrion beetles and flesh flies do all the hard work for the plant – using them to lay eggs in their flesh.
National Geographic has the scoop on Carrion Flowers here…
The Rafflesia is a peculiar creature. Strictly parasitic by nature, it has no stems, leaves or even roots. Grabbing hold of any vine that it can find in it’s indigenous home of the Southeastern Asia rain forests, there are 28 species of these strange creatures that are often confused with aforementioned Carrion Flower, Amorphophallus titanum. The titanum is often referred to as being the largest flower – leaving the unsung hero, the Rafflesia, out in the cold. Unknown to many, the Rafflesia has largest single flower of any plant. It’s large, bulbous and grotesque – but it’s also a record-breaker.
Kew Garden’s fact sheet on the Rafflesia has all the knowledge on these guys.
You’d be forgiven for assuming that the Welwitschia is some kind of washed up piece of seaweed, if it weren’t for the fact that it only grown in the Namib desert, within Namibia and Angola. Often referred to as a ‘living fossil’ it is the only living genus within it’s family making it a uniquely sad plant. Named after it’s discoverer Friedrich Welwitsch – upon finding the plant he was said to have knelt by it in disbelief, fearing that it was a a figment of his imagination. If only that were so. The leaves that grow on this plant are permanent, giving it a dead-like look.