Education Flowers Plants

Flowers that don’t really look like flowers

Is it a bird? Is it a monkey? Nope, it’s just a flower with the primary purpose of reproduction.

But these aren’t your stereotypical looking flowers!

All of the below images are genuine flowers, no tricks or edits. These flowers can be found naturally around the world with a few being harder to find than others. We have only listed ten below but if you want to see more then check out

Bat-faced Cuphea (Cuphea llavea)

Cuphea llavea flower

Photo courtesy of pinkgranite (cc)

Native to Mexico and Central America this little guy has flowers that resemble a bat or tiny mice to some. The Cuphea grows to around 400mm and flowers from Spring to Autumn. Good news to fellow Aussies this plant can be grown throughout Australia, check with your local garden centres, ask for Cuphea (KYOO-fee-uh) ‘Tiny Mice.’

Devils Hand (Chiranthodendron pentadactylon)

Chiranthodendron pentadactylon

Photo courtesy of Josh*m (cc)

Another Mexican native, the Chiranthodendron pentadactylon has a very creepy flower! The flowers stamens resemble a Devil or Demon’s hand stretching upwards to pull itself free. This tree grows to around 15 metres tall and flowers between Spring and Summer.

Snap Dragon Seed Pod (Antirrhinum majus)

Snap Dragon pod

Photo courtesy of Laajala (cc)

The typical garden Snapdragon, so pretty when in full flower. Once the flowers have finished, take a closer look and see their tiny little skulls. These guys are natives to Southern Europe, and the Mediterranean can be grown almost anywhere. Check in your Gran’s garden next time you visit.

Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)

Ophrys apifera

Photo courtesy of ukgardenphotos (cc)

Known as the happy bee Orchid but to me personally it looks like a duck, what do you think? Either way, it’s certainly not your average garden flower and unfortunately unless you live in Southern Europe or Northern Africa then you will probably never see one.

Naked Man Orchid (Orchis italica)

Orchis italica

Photo courtesy of Mark Freeth (cc)

Well played mother nature, well played! These (not so) little fella’s pretty much named themselves “naked man” and again you will not find these anywhere but in Southern Europe, some parts of Asia, and Northern Africa.

Monkey Face Orchid (Dracula simia)

Dracula simia flower

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Leth © Image subject to Copyright

The scent of these flowers resembles a freshly cut orange. Their cute little faces would look great in your house. But forget about ever having these growing in your home unless you live on or around the Ecuadorian/Peruvian cloud forests. Like most of these orchids, be wary of buying seeds online because even in the unlikely event that they were legit, chances are they will not germinate.

Dawadawa (Parkia biglobosa)

Parkia biglobosa

Photo courtesy of TreeAid (cc)

These look like party lights hanging from a tree. The Dawadawa is a vital Economic activity throughout Africa. The majority of the tree from roots to leaves are commonly used in traditional medicine, and the seeds are sweet and rich in carbohydrates and protein.

Darth Vader flower (Aristolochia salvador platensis)

Aristolochia Salvadorensis flower

Photo courtesy of Bruce Batten © Image subject to Copyright

Some say this looks like Darth Vaders mask but to me, it looks like an old Spanish conquistadores helmet.  Either way, we have a rare flower that smells like rotting corpses and death. This Flower attracts insect’s into its mask shaped flower and traps them in there with tiny hairs surrounding the top part of the flower. The insect will be covered in pollen as it struggles to break free and then stupidly, it will move off to the next flower and repeat, hopefully pollinating it.

King in his carriage (Drakaea glyptodon)

Drakaea glyptodon flower

Carousel Spider Orchid Photo courtesy of ron_n_beths pics (CC)

Native to Western Australia the Drakaea glyptodon has evolved to trick once single insect (Thynnid wasp) into pollinating it by using sexual deception. The Drakaea glyptodon’s flower mimics a flightless female Thynidd wasp with its shape and by producing pheromones similar to the female Tynidd wasp. The typical Male is only thinking about one thing, he puts his moves on what he assumes is a female, and he gets covered in pollen.

Cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis)

Couroupita guianensis flower

Photo courtesy of Pablo Flores (CC)

The Cannonball tree gets its common name from the fruit. The fruit is heavy round objects that make a noise similar to a tiny explosion as they drop from the tree. The flowers look like the giant man-eating plant from the 1986 movie ‘Little Shop of Horrors‘. The cannonball tree flowers have two types of pollen; one type is sterile to attract pollinators with a pleasing scent. The other type of pollen is fertile, and this ends up on the pollinators body as it helps itself to the good stuff.

But wait there are more! If you would like to see more strange flowers, in fact, to see 40 of the worlds weirdest flowers then click on the following link to check them out

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  • 91Shona
    November 30, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Hello admin !! I read your blog everyday and i must say you have
    very interesting posts here.

    • Justine Brooks
      November 30, 2016 at 10:03 am

      Hi Shona, Thankyou for your awesome feedback!

  • Gail
    March 4, 2019 at 12:32 am

    Hi this is great info but wondering if part of your site connects to/ with people if your wanting a particular plant . As I am trying to find somewhere to purchase Cuphea Llavea ‘ Tiny Mice’ plant . Thankyou