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Strange But Real Plants

Chris is a non-certified greenish thumb. He enjoys growing produce for his family and small collections of pollinator plants for his bees.

Naked Hanging Man Orchid

This orchid above is the Orchis italica, or better known as the Naked Man Orchid. Many people upon seeing the pictures assume that it is a photoshopped or altered image, but it is a real flower. There are even some that have two spots for eyes on them, although rarer. There are seeds available for purchase online for this plant if you want to give it a go.

This flower is from the Mediterranean area and it prefers to be partially shaded, much like many naked men... Also, preferring low nutrient soil, such as the Achillea. The Naked Man Orchid will grow to be about 20 inches tall and in clusters that bloom around April.

There is a belief that consuming this plant will help virility, but this has never been proven. This is a belief that is unfounded, to the best of my knowledge. Although, the root of the Naked Man Orchid is a bulb that is up to a foot in length. This bulb is high in salep, which is sweet-tasting but somewhat unpleasant to smell. This starch-like powder can be made into a drink or added to foods and helps with issues with the gastrointestinal canal.

Monkey Faced Orchid

There are plenty of strange-looking orchids, and here we have another one. This is the Monkey Faced Orchid. My understanding of this flower is that it is from Peru and some parts of Ecuador and is usually found above 3,000 feet. This makes growing conditions difficult to emulate, but it sure is fun to look at.

The true name for this flower is Dracula simia, which means "little dragon monkey". Commonly called the Monkey Faced Orchid or a Dracula flower. This orchid doesn't only look interesting, but the smell this flower gives off is compared to the smell of a ripe orange. Another interesting fact, this orchid can flower at any time during any season.

If you do ever decide to try your hand at having a Monkey Faced Orchid then you should know that they do like deep shade, high humidity, and cool temperatures. You will need to understand orchid soil as well. This is an important aspect because it isn't only having a pH ranging from 5.5 to 7 but also consistency and drainage are important for this plant to survive.

Dancing Girls Impatiens

These rare flowers are found in the rainforests in East Africa. The temperatures there range from 45 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This species is also a perennial but is often treated as an annual.

The seeds may be purchased online, but exportation of flowers may be illegal, and therefore be cautious if someone is offering to sell the flower online. These flowers do like shade. Overwatering will most likely bring fungus and underwatering will have leave drop. And to keep this flower you will want to keep the temperatures between 45° Fahrenheit and 80° Fahrenheit.

The plant is a foot wide and the petals usually max out at 1/2" long. This is a small flower that will root where it touches the soil, which makes it easier to plant indoors. The common name of Dancing Girls Impatiens makes it easier to find the flower online. If looking for seeds, then sometimes using the true name of Impatiens bequaertii will help find a more credible seller. The blossoms can be white or light pink.

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Jackal Food

The Jackal Food plant is an interesting parasitic plant. The formal name is Hydnora africana, and roughly means African truffle. This is a plant that is quite rare and hard to find that originated in South Africa.

To my knowledge, there has never been a successfully cultivated Jackal Food plant anywhere on earth. The plant is hard to find because the only time it comes above ground is when the flower comes up for reproduction, which is pictured above. The plant itself winds through other plants' roots and draws nutrients from them this way.

When the flower does appear, it smells of a rotting carcass. This smell attracts insects that become trapped within the flower until the pollen is released. After the pollen is released then the flower opens to allow the insects out to pollinate. Because of the smell, it also attracts animals that will consume the fruit and this is how the plant propegates.

There are medical uses for this plant including treating diarrhea, kidney and bladder complaints, as well as dysentery.

Devil's Tooth Fungus

Hydnellum peckii is also called strawberries and cream, bleeding Hydnellum, bleeding tooth fungus, and the titled Devil's Tooth Fungus. This is definitely an eye-catching fungus.

This fungus was found in Europe, North America, and more recently it has been found in Iran, Korea, and Fraser Island, Australia. There is usually a beneficial relationship between conifers and this fungus.

Devil's Tooth is actually edible although it is unpalatable. If you do ever see these in nature, consider yourself lucky because they are quite rare. I could not find any plugs, spores, or anything to grow the Devil's Tooth. Although, there was an interesting assortment of art and shirts.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Chris Samhain


Chris Andrews from Norwalk, Ohio on April 22, 2021:

Interesting plants, I like the look of the Devil's Tooth the most - but I don't know what I would do if I found one in my yard or something.

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