Rare Corpse Lily Finally Blooms After Growing for Ten Years

December 30, 2015 | Joanne Kennell

Photo credit: Botanic Gardens of South Australia/YouTube

And three other strange flowers you probably do not know exist.

Have you ever heard of the Corpse Lily?  It is a plant made famous by the movie Dennis the Menace in 1993.  For the first time since the flower was planted by South Australia's Mount Lofty Botanic Garden 10 years ago, it has bloomed.

About two weeks ago, the flower of the plant began to grow and finally opened on Monday (December 28).  Matt Coulter, a horticulture curator at the garden who has been tending the flower for the last eight years, told BBC that the flower’s “rotting smell” was overpowering.  “When I opened the door this morning it almost knocked me over, it was so strong,” he said.  The flower will only remain in bloom for 48 hours, and it is attracting tens of thousands of visitors to the Botanical Garden.  You can watch a timelapse of its bloom in the above video.

The Corpse Lily, also known as Amorphophallus titanum, is a flower that only grows in Indonesia — specifically Sumatra.  These flowers are extremely rare, often very large (growing up to 12 feet), and some can weigh as much as 200 pounds.  If you ever have the chance to smell one of these flowers, do it.  You will understand where it gets its name.

Here are a few other strange flowers that you may not know exist.

Devil’s Hands

Devil's hands

Photo credit: Stan Shebs/Wikimedia (CC by SA 3.0) 

This is a bit of a scary looking flower, don’t you think?  The Devil’s Hands, also known as Chiranthodendron pentadactylon, are from a rare tree native to Mexico, and they were held in high religious regard by Ancient Aztecs.  This flower produces edible fruits that are often used in traditional medicine to treat heart conditions such as heart disease.  It grows very fast, and can reach heights up to 90 inches.

Flying Duck Orchid

Flying Duck Orchard

Photo credit: Peter Woodard/Wikipedia

How cute is this flower?  Flying Duck Orchids, or Caleana major, are native to the Australian wilderness.  These flowers have never been successfully cultivated because they have a symbiotic relationship with the vegetative part of a fungus, which protects the flower from infections and is only found in eastern and southern Australia.  These orchids are notoriously hard to spot since they only grow up to 20 inches tall and their colors blend well with the surrounding environment.

Snapdragon Seed Pods

Snapdragon seed pods

Photo credit: karin jones/Flickr (CC by SA 2.0)

These are pods leftover once a Snapdragon flower goes to seed.  Snapdragons are known for their bright colors and fragrance, and if you squeeze the sides of a Snapdragon, it looks like a dragon’s mouth opening and closing.  However, most people do not know about the creepy skull-like pods that are left behind.  Although these are technically no longer flowers, they are still a really weird thing to see.

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