Nature can be stranger than fiction. The plant world is full of mysteries. Certain plant species have unusual appearance; these plants look odd, strange, and bizarre. Such plants are grown in the garden as ‘specimen plants’ because they quickly catch our attention due to their unusual yet attractive looks.
Let’s explore the strange species of the plant world that can be grown in our gardens:
1. Travellers Palm: At first glance, it looks as if someone has grafted banana leaves on the coconut palm. But no, that’s how this 2D plant naturally appears. Technically not a palm, this mutant of the banana family is from Madagascar.
2. Baobab Tree: This legendary African tree species has an unusually wide, fat & hollow trunk. There are records of stems of this large living tree being used as Prisons, storage rooms, Restaurants. Its flowers are pollinated by Bats & fruits are edible.
3. Cannonball Tree: Commonly called as ‘Kailaspati’ in India. Unlike other trees, this holy tree species grows flowers & fruits all over its main trunk rather than on the branches of the top. Flowers are attractive & scented; fruits look like cannonballs.
4. Hyphaene branching palm: We think of tall palms as a single long stem & crown of leaves on top. But this one is a branched palm. It is unusual to see tall palms dichotomously branching in this manner.
5. Passion flower: These climbers of Genus ‘Passiflora’ have some of the most attractive flowers. The natural symmetry, design, shapes of flower parts are so beautiful as if they are artificially crafted.
6. Giant Arum flower: Technically a flowering inflorescence of traditional Indian vegetable ‘Elephant foot yam’. They call it ‘the ugliest flower in the world’ that smells like rotting flesh. It’s a kitchen garden plant with underground corm & a single leaf that looks like a tree.
7. Pitcher plant: A well known carnivorous plant that has modified leaves known as ‘Pitfall traps’ filled with digestive fluids. These plants can be grown house plants in hanging containers.
8. Dutchman’s pipe: A garden climber with unique looking flowers that look like an insectivorous plant, but these are just insect trapping flowers who eventually release the trapped insects for pollination.
9. Earth Star Plant: Belonging to Genus ‘Cryptanthus’ this is a flat-growing Bromeliad with colorful leaves arranged in rosette manner. It’s an indoor plant that can be grown in pots, Terrariums & dish gardens.
10. Lifesaver Plant: A succulent that looks more like a cactus. It has curiously attractive, unusual flowers. This indoor plant is grown in pots.
Thus it would be apt to say that the plant kingdom has numerous surprises bagged for us and we should explore those because nature never goes out of style.