Facts about flowers
Ready to learn about some serious strange plants?
When you asked someone to define a "flower", odds are you'll get a generic description of something pretty, colorful and made up of petals. But if you dig deeper into the real facts about flowers, and what they can be, you'll find some of nature's strangest, most unusual and most exotic plants.
In fact, you might wonder if what's called a flower deserves the name at all. Not sure what I mean? Read on, starting with a flower with a wonderfully creepy nickname.
The smell of a rotting corpse is more seductive than the fragrance of costly perfumes—if you are one of the swarm of pollinating insects drawn to the four-foot-wide bloom of the grand Titan Arum, one of the world’s largest—and most stinky—flowers. The stench exuded by the seven-foot-tall “corpse flower” is a mesmerizing attractant to pollinators who must work fast, for the bloom remains fully open for only one day.
And in one of the weirdest facts about flowers that defy the name "flower", this fragrant bloom also comes to a zombie-worthy end. After the one-day stand, the blossom rather quickly collapses, until it is naught but a slimy mess. Oh and one more detail...this rare plant lives for about 50 years but in that time, (thankfully!) blooms no more than four to six times.
The zombie world is "alive and well" in the plant kingdom
Most overviews of the facts about flowers in all their diversity don’t delve into the realm of some of the world’s strangest and most rare flowers—carnivorous flowers.
Some 600 species of zombie-like animal-eating flowering plants have been discovered. Biologists remain astounded at the diversity methods some plants such as pitcher plants, sundews, and flytraps use to attract their reluctant supper, from scents to colors to what appears to be a fishing line complete with lure!
Did you know that Venus Flytraps are Americans?
One of the best known meat-eating plant is the Venus Flytrap. But few know it's a native of our own shores. The International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS) has that and many more facts about Venus Flytraps, including:
• Venus Flytraps are found only in North Carolina and South Carolina
• It is illegal to collect specimens living in the wild.
• Venus Flytraps can reach five-inches wide and develop up to eight traps
Thankfully, hundreds of stink-free, pleasantly aromatic but still rare flowers abound.
Among the rarest and most delicate of all flowers are orchids. One beauty known as the Black Jewel Orchid is known for its large, four-inch yellow flowers and raspberry-red spotted lips. Another, almost an opposite in size and showiness, is the the only recently discovered, almost translucent white Platystele jungermanniodes. Its petals are only a single cell thick, and the bloom measures only 2mm across!
So what exactly is a flower?
If flowers can range from the something best reserved for an episode of "The Walking Dead" to the almost ethereal beauty of the orchid, what is a flower?
According to Dictionary.com, a flower is "the part of a seed plant comprising the reproductive organs [of a plant] and their envelopes, if any". No mention of pretty or sweet smelling or even safe for passing insects.
Who knew? Ladies, I'm thinking we better be a little more specific next time we ask our boyfriends or husbands for flowers!