The plant kingdom has it share of creepy and sinister specimens as part of nature's grand scheme for diversity. Some of these strange-looking plants seem to have grown out from some horror flicks. Imagine encountering a bat plant, eyeball plant, a dracula flower, a skunk cabbage, a strangler fig, to name a few. These bizarre plants are not only weird-looking, stinky, monstrous, but can kill (other plants) that is.
You will never walk alone again in the garden after seeing these spooky plants.
Are you ready for this spooky boo-tanical tour?
The eyeball plant (Spilanthes oleracea) also known as the peek-a-boo plant, is all eyes. The cylindrical shape flowers with yellow sides and reddish-brown top resemble eyeballs. The leaves and flowers have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits.
White Baneberry - Only have eyes for you
The Strangler fig tree is native to Florida Keys and the West Indies and is a parasitic plant. It lodges its seeds in the bark of its host and puts out air roots and lives off nutrients from the host and air. Eventually the roots reach the ground and develop, sapping the host tree and strangling it to death. Watch out for these stiffling hugs.
The Bat Plant (Tacca Chantreiri) - Gothic Charm of the garden
Hailing from the rainforests of West Africa and East Asia, the Bat Plant will add gothic charm to your garden.The interesting looking flower of the Bat Plant look like a bat's face with large ears, long whisker-like filaments and a purple cape resembling a bat in flight.
Dead Man's Fingers (Xylaria polymorpha) - Don't let these fingers point you the wrong way in the forest
These bizarre plant lives up to its name - Dead man's fingers. But could easily could be mistaken for some animals' poop. It is a fungus that grows on dead logs and look like individual black fingers reaching out from the ground to grab your legs. It is hard not to let your imagination run wild after seeing this spooky plant.
Corpse Flower (Titum Arum) - Pollinators love this stinky flower
The corpse flower is named after the putrid odor that it releases that smells like rotting flesh. The tall conical central stalk generates heat that propels oils called putecines and cadavarines into the air.The stinky blossom turns off humans, but attracts pollinators, like bees, flies and carrion beetles that normally feed on dead animals.
Watch this time-lapse video of the corpse flower blooming - You should be glad you were not there
Dracula Vampira 'Bella Lugosi' - "I vant to suck your blood"
Dracula Vampira is not from Transylvania but from the cloud forests of Southeast Ecuador. The small orchid is gorgeously creepy looking like a monkey or baboon and named after a famed actor who played the blood-sucking vampire Dracula in the movies.
Dracula Simia 'Racha' - Plants mimicking monkeys
These small delightful Dracula Simia orchid flowers will stop anyone on their tracks. It is a species of orchid that also grows in the cloud forests of Columbia and Ecuador. This flower also resembles the faces of monkeys with eyes and cupped lips..
Skunk Cabbage (symplocarpus foetidus) - Pepe Le Pew of the plant world
The skunk cabbage lurking in the wet woodlands could easily startle an unexpected hiker. This unusual plant produces its own heat to keep its weird flower safe and warm in freezing temperatures. It grow in Eastern North America.
Devils's Tongue ( Amorphophallus konjac) - Unpalatable and creepy-looking
The Devil's tongue is supposed to look like a devil's tongue although I have never seen one. In spite of its smell, the Devil's Tongue is grown in India, China, Japan and Korea for its large starchy corms to create flour and jelly. It is also used to create candies, believe it or not.
The ghost plant is aptly named as it is ghostly white with bowed flower heads and is parasitic. It needs no chlorophyll and therefore is not dependent on sunlight to grow, and gets its energy from photosynthetic plants.
Medusa cactus (Medusoid Euporbias) - Ouch!
Ant Ferns (Lecanopteris mirabilis) - Condominums for ants
The slug-like rhizomes of this ant fern look real creepy but are homes for ants. Beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder.
Rafflesia arnoldii - you do not want to lean over and try to smell this - The largest flower in the planet
The huge cavernous mouth of the rafflesia looks like it is about to swallow anything that crosses its path. Fortunately, the likelihood of that happening is slim because this bizarre flower is hard to locate in the jungles of Southeast Asia. It is a parasite and has no leaves, stems or roots aside for the visible flower and the rest of the plant exists only as filaments living off its unfortunate host (the Testrastigma vine). The putrid odor of the rafflesia attracts flies which pollinates this endangered oddity.
Bleeding Tooth (Hydnellum peckii) - Bloody sweat Dracula would love
This hideous fungus does not resemble any tooth I have seen, but the oozing red gel will remind you to go see your dentist soon. It is also known as Strawberries and Cream, the Red Juice tooth, the Devil's tooth and Bleeding Hydnellum. The bloody-looking substance is known to prevent blood clot and has antibacterial properties.
Octopus Stinkhorn (Clathrus archerii) - Watch where you step
This tentacled reddish monstrosity erupting from an egg looks like something out of a horror movie. It is none other than the Octopus Stinkhorn indigenous to Tasmania and Australia. This multi-armed oddity of nature smells putrid and attracts pollinators like flies and carrion beetles. The eggs taste like radish. In a life and death situation would you dare take a bite out of this?
Take a quick poll
Do think these plants are creepy? Would you want any of these in your garden?
Bat-face Cuphea llavea 'Georgia Scarlet' - Low maintenace and drought-tolerant
You will get non-stop blooms from this unusual but gorgeous bat-faced Cuphea plant. The flowers resemble bat faces with scarlet petals and little purple mouse ears. The stems are woody, arches gracefully and unfazed by summer's heat.
The flower of the bat face Mexican Heather plant is long-lasting and makes a great indoor or outdoor plant. The blooms attract hummingbirds and last till the freezing temperatures arrive. The cuphea is a popular choice for a low maintenance, drought-tolerant and heat-loving plant.