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The 7 strangest plants in the world

The horticulture industry showcases an abundance of magnificent plants in projects and show gardens the world over, and designers are often spoilt for choice when it comes to picking between beautiful flowers or show-stopping trees. Not all clients however have the most conventional taste, and mother nature has a plethora of weird and wonderful creations to offer us. Pro Landscaper has rounded up the seven strangest plants from around the world that would make striking features in any landscape.


1. Rafflesia arnoldii

Producing the largest individual flower on earth, the Rafflesia arnoldii certainly looks disconcerting with its gaping mouth. This is heightened by the nickname Kerubut, meaning ‘Devil’s Betelnut Box’.

Rafflesia arnoldii

2. Euphorbia obesa

Occasionally referred to as ‘the baseball plant’, this subtropical species from South Africa is toxic and grows small sprouting flowers called cyathia. The plant can grow up to 15 centimetres wide, and with age has been known to become cylindrical.

Euphorbia obesa

3. Baobab tree

One of the nine species of deciduous tree, the baobab tree is notorious for its immensely thick trunks that can store up to 120,000l of water.

Baobab tree

4. Amorphophallus paeoniifolius

A.K.A ‘the elephant foot yam’, this African tropical tuber blooms annually, forming an unusual, purple, walnut-like flower.


Amorphophallus paeoniifolius

5. Aristolochia salvadorensis

A genus evergreen with herbaceous perennials, Aristolochia Salvadorensis has some of the most bizarre flowers that are not dissimilar to a skull, or disturbing mask.

Aristolochia Salvadorensis

6. Hydnora africana

Native to southern Africa, this member of the Euphorbiaceae family has an indescribable shape and bright neon colour to gives it one of the strangest presences in a landscape.

Hydnora africana

7. Dracunculus vulgaris

Resembling a monstrous tongue, this rich purple flower from Greece has a profound impact on any landscape with its tolerance to shade and ability to withstand lengthy droughts.

Dracunculus vulgaris
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One Comment

  1. Contrary to the information in the article, the Hydnora africana plant is not a member of the Euphorbiacea family but Hydnora africana is a parasitic plant which commonly hosts on species of the genus Euphorbia. Hydnora has such an unusual physical appearance that one would never say it is a plant as it looks astonishingly similar to fungi or even a piece of dead wood bark, and is only distinguishable from fungi when the flower has opened. I took photos of this plant in the West Coast National Park near Langerbaan in South Africa in summer of 2017 and can share them with you if you would like to see them. Your article was included in our South African version of the Prolandscaper magazine and I picked up the error when reading about these wonderful plants.