Whether its to attract pollinators or to repel predators, in order for plants to survive in nature, they must adapt to their surroundings. As a result, some plants have had to develop unusual growth characteristics.
For instance, some plants have funny colours, strange forms, and weird growth patterns. Some plants depend on their aroma for survival, which can smell good or bad. There are plants that can move, create noise, and plants that simply have strange or funny names. Others are considered carnivorous, while some plants seemingly rise from the dead.
Strange Colours, Forms, and Weird Growth
Some plants depend on their colours or forms, however odd, in order to survive. Take, for instance, the crested cockscomb. This funny-looking plant has bright-coloured flower heads that resemble little brains, or a rooster’s head. However, it’s because of the bright colours that pollinators are able to locate this strange plant in the garden.
While there’s nothing that odd about Zinnias, the green-flowered variety, ‘Envy,’ is rather strange looking. Why is it green? Some plants do not require any special colouring for attracting pollinators as wind or other methods, such as scent, are used instead. Therefore, some plants are plain coloured, simply blending into their surroundings, which is also a good way to remain hidden from grazing animals.
Other plants use the same technique, only in a different way, such as form. Living rocks are a good example. This strange plant doesn’t look like a plant at all. Growing flat against the ground, it actually resembles rocks. You wouldn’t even know they were plants at all if it were not for the striking pink flowers that bloom in Autumn.
Some plants resort to weird growing tactics. For example, instead of growing in soil, they grow directly from the barks of trees. Staghorn fern is one such plant.
Unusual Aromas, Movements, and Noises
Some plants have unique scents that attract pollinators. They can be perfume-like and pleasing, but there are other aromas too. For instance, the common herb Mint comes in many different varieties, all with very different scents, from peppermint and chocolate to orange and pineapple.
However, not all plants smell good. Some flowers stink as a means of attracting certain insects. The Corpse Lily, for example, smells like rotting or decaying meat. The Touch-me-not or Sensitivity plant moves on its own accord. Whenever you try to touch this plant, it will roll up its leaves. Most likely, this is a way of protecting itself from pests. The Walking Iris is another strange plant. Although it doesn’t actually move, it’s flowering stalk bends over and takes root so easily that it appears to be walking through the garden.
There are plants that can even make sounds. The Money plant produces lightly scented flowers, but it is the translucent, silver-dollar seedpods that make this plant interesting, as they create soft, rustling sounds in the wind. The Chinese Lantern plant also makes sounds in the wind. This strange-looking plant produces inflated, papery orange-red, lantern-like seed pods.
Funny Names, Carnivorous Behaviour and Resurrection Characteristics
Some plants have funny names mostly due to their appearance. For example, the Balloon flower has round, inflated balloon-like flower buds. The Firecracker plant produces unusual reddish-orange flowers that eventually turn into exploding seed heads. When drops of water hit the pods, seeds pop out, flying up to twenty feet away.
Both Three-Birds Flying and the White Egret flower have blooms that resemble flying birds. Perhaps this is a way of attracting others; then again, it could also deter predators. Snapdragons are funny plants named for the fact that when the blossoms are gently pinched, they resemble dragons with open mouths.
The Venus Flytrap is a carnivorous plant with hinged, jaw-like leaves that capture and eat wandering insects. Each trap has sensitive hairs that signal the plant whenever it is touched. When an insect enters the trap and triggers these hairs, it quickly closes, trapping the insect. Carnivorous plants do not actually eat the insects; however, once the insects die, the plant absorbs their nutrients.
The Resurrection fern has the uncanny ability to seemingly die and come back to life. How? When there is not enough rain or water, the plant dries and shrivels up into a ball. Once water is restored, however, and absorbed by the plant, it will turn green and begin growing again.
Take a field trip with the kids. Whether it’s in the backyard or schoolyard, a nearby park or botanical garden, see how many strange and funny plants the kids can find. You could also help them create their own strange and funny garden theme using strange plants or those with funny names. For instance, an outer space theme might consist of plants like moonflower, Venus flytrap, rocket plant, cosmos, and Jupiter’s beard.