7 fascinating plants that you may not have heard of
Friday, June 14, 2013, 3:43 -
Nature continually amazes us here at The Weather Network.
Mother Nature can be beautiful, terrifying and, at times, downright weird.
Take this list of plants for example.
1. Mimosa pudica/Touch-me-not
Also referred to as the "sensitive" or "bashful" plant, this ornamental herb closes up when touched. English scientist Robert Hooke discovered the plant in the 17th century and originally thought it had nerves like mammals. It was later discovered that the plant's mobility is fueled by the movement of water inside the leaves.
Snapweeds (also referred to as touch-me-nots) is a genus of up to 1,000 species of flowering plants. Found across the northern hemisphere, this plant distributes seeds by bursting apart when touched. It's highly effective -- seeds can be launched several metres by a single explosion.
3. Nepenthes distillatoria/Pitcher plants
This one's a little creepy.
Pitchers are carnivorous plants that use a sweet-smelling nectar to lure insects inside a cup-shaped flower.
Once inside, insects are trapped and chemicals dissolve the prey until it becomes part of the nectar.
Try not to dwell too much on that.
There are about 100 different species of pitcher plants, and they can be found in Madagascar, New Caledonia, China, Australia, New Guinea, and Sumatra.
4. Rafflesia arnoldii/Corpse flower
This plant produces the largest flower on the planet -- but it doesn't smell like roses. Noted for its aroma of, ahem, rotting flesh, the "corpse flower" can be found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra.
5. Amorphophallus titanum/Corpse flower
Here's the thing about plants: People aren't overly creative when doling out their nicknames, so it's not uncommon for species to share the same moniker.
Like this guy.
This version of the corpse flower, also dubbed the "stinky flower", only blooms for a few days a year -- which is probably a good thing.
It can be quite hefty -- one at Edmonton's Muttart Conservatory once weighed in at 225 pounds.
6. Desmodium gyrans/Dancing plant
Darwin was intrigued by this strange plant, which is also called the telegraph. It twitches its leaves when exposed to sunlight, warm temperatures or vibrations, like those created by music. There's a rumour the plant is a huge fan of the Grateful Dead, but we haven't been able to verify it.
These stunning trees are part of genus Adansonia, which contains 8 species and are found in Africa, Australia and Madagascar. A bottle tree, or Baobab, doesn't just look like a bottle -- it also functions as one. Baobabs have adapted to survive severe drought conditions by storing hundreds of gallons of water inside the trunk.