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Rare and Unusual Flowers

unusual flowers and rare flowers including the lobster claw flower, stinking corpse lily, himalayan poppy, black bat flower, bleeding heart flower and more

If you think all flowers are beautiful, we’re not here to argue with you. However, sometimes red roses and white daisies can become a bit boring. Like most things in life, unfamiliar and rare flowers are a bit more exciting than the run-of-the-mill options. Catching a glimpse of a flower few people will ever see or decorating your home with some tropical flower bouquets can really liven up your day.

The catch is that not everyone knows about these beautiful, elusive flowers! We’re going to introduce you to some rare and exotic flowers that you can take a trip to see, as well as some that will work well in a garden or as part of a bouquet. If these flowers captivate you, consider using one as a flower background for Zoom.

Rare Flowers Around the World

Almost every corner of the world is home to rare flowers. Some of these plants have become endangered due to habitat loss or a changing climate while others were uncommon from the start. No matter the case, spotting any of these rare flowers is something to celebrate.

Blue Puya (Puya berteronian)

Puya alpestris blue flower on a green background

Blue flowers are rare in their own right. Add in the blue puya flower’s large size and trumpet-like shape, and you’ve got yourself a stunning specimen. The blue puya is a type of terrestrial bromeliad that’s related to the common pineapple. However, these plants are much more rare than the common fruit. If you want to see a blue puya, your best bet is to head to their native habitat in Chile.

Parrot’s Beak (Lotus berthelotii)

Lotus Red Flash (Lotus berthelotii) ground cover plant in bloom

Also known as the lotus vine flower or pelican beak, this uncommon flower is native to the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. Although they can be found in cultivation, wild plants are exceedingly rare. It only takes one look at the bright blooms to see where this plant got its name.

Middlemist Red Camellia (Camellia species)

Beautiful red Middlemist camellia flower growing in the garden. Red Middlemist Camellia Flower Like a Rose

While camellias aren’t very rare, you can only see this specific type of camellia in two locations! In the early 1800s, this species likely existed throughout China. However, it became extinct in the wild by the end of the century. The only plants that were in existence were those that were cultivated indoors. Today, one plant exists in New Zealand and the other is in Great Britain.

Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)

A Queen of the night flower ( Epiphyllum oxypetalum) in the morning

Catching a glimpse of this cactus’ blooms, also known as Kadupul flowers, takes a fair bit of patience. Not only do the plants rarely bloom, but the flowers emerge at night and wither by dawn. While the plants are native to Mexico and South America, you can grow them indoors. Additionally, cultivated plants have escaped and can now be found throughout countries like Sri Lanka.

Catherine-Wheel Pincushion (Leucospermum catherinae)

close-up of Leucospermum cordifolium flowers (Pin Cushion South African Protea)

A type of protea, this flower is perhaps the most attractive member of the group of fireworks pincushion flowers. While you may think the elongated portions are petals, they are actually individual flowers. This protea species is considered endangered in its native South Africa.

Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii)

white ghost orchids in a botanical garden in kandy, sri lanka

While the ghost orchid’s white flowers are unique, what really sets it apart is its lack of leaves. Unlike most plants, this orchid photosynthesizes via its roots rather than its leaves! Like a ghost, it can be a bit elusive to find since the species is endangered in its native habitat of Florida and Cuba.

Darwin’s Slippers (Calceolaria uniflora)

Darwin's Slippers on Alpine Tundra in the Patagonian Andes of Argentina

A member of the slipperwort family, this plant is native to the southern tip of South America. While the name suggests the flowers look like a pair of slippers, some people think they resemble flocks of orange penguins or aliens with their mouths wide open. These plants are quite rare, and it’s not uncommon to find counterfeit seeds.

Jade Vine (Strongylodon Macrobotrys)

Beautiful blue purple of Tiger claw flowers in Dalat, Vietnam

Native to the Philippines, the jade vine produces hanging clusters that can contain up to 75 of the stunning turquoise flowers. Since the flowers resemble claws, the plant also goes by the name tiger claws. The hanging flowers are pollinated by bats, but deforestation in the Philippines is threatening both the flowers and the bats.

Lady’s Slipper Orchids (Cypripedium spp.)

Showy Lady's-slipper - Cypripedium reginae - AKA Pink-and-white Lady's-slipper or the Queen's Lady's-slipper - Minnesota State Flower

Although these flowers are orchids, they look quite different from the ones you may have growing in your home. They emerge from forest floors across the United States and other temperate areas, but finding one can take some patience as well as knowledge of your local area. There are numerous species of lady’s slippers, including the showy lady’s slipper pictured above.

Exotic Flowers for Your Garden

While you probably enjoy classic flowers like daisies and roses, sometimes you’re looking for other flowers for home gardens. Try planting a few of the following flowers to give your garden an exotic look.

Purple Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

May-pop Purple Passion flower(Passiflora Incarnata),Spring Hill botanical garden,Florida

While this flowering vine is native to the Southeastern United States, it certainly provides an exotic look! Since each flower blooms for only a day, it’s a treat to come across the wild blooms. If left to mature, the flowers will transform into sweet and juicy passionfruit. The purple passionflower is also the state flower of Tennessee – check this out if you’re interested in learning all 50 state flowers.

Himalayan Poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia)

Blue Himalayan Poppy

While flowers come in all kinds of colors, true blue blooms can be a bit difficult to find. Himalayan poppy flowers bloom for only a few days, but they make a stunning display while they last. Like most poppies, you can grow the delicate flowers from seed. However, before you plant these flowers in your garden, you should be aware they can be a bit difficult to grow.

Chocolate Cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus)

Wild flower Cosmos atrosanguineus on the green background

You may already have some pink or white cosmos flowers in your garden. But how about chocolate cosmos? These tuberous perennials are native to Mexico, where they thrive in sunny and dry environments. With the right care, these plants will produce handfuls of dark red blooms that smell like chocolate! While they may smell enticing, these flowers don’t taste like the candy bars we love.

Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)

Bleeding Hearts branch

Native to forests in China, the bleeding heart plant will thrive in many temperate gardens. These large, herbaceous plants produce hundreds of pink flowers that resemble the namesake bleeding hearts. Since these plants thrive in shade, they make a great addition to forest understories or shade gardens.

Crown Imperial (Fritillaria imperialis)

orange crown imperial flowers

Also known as the imperial fritillary or upside-down tulip, the crown imperial looks a little like it got its directions mixed up. However, this plant is known for its gorgeous downward-facing flowers. The plant is native to regions in the Middle East and South Asia, but it can be grown elsewhere.

Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia spp.)

Carnivorous pitcher plants grown in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

While there are a wide variety of pitcher plants, this genus of trump pitchers is native to North America. These interesting plants have a long funnel made out of modified leaves. A combination of the plant’s appearance and scent lure tiny insects which then fall inside the pitcher, where the plant digests the prey. The plants also produce flowers with interesting umbrella-shaped styles that catch falling pollen.

Sea Holly (Eryngium spp.)

Sea Holly blue thistle Eryngium flowers growing in the garden

This genus of plants has spiky blue flowers that look a bit like thistles. The spiky cones are surrounded by serrated bracts, giving the flowers a frightening yet alluring appearance. As a bonus, sea holly flowers work great in bouquets!

Exotic Flowers for Bouquets

If you want to spice up your flower arrangement, turn to exotic flowers. While you may not be able to take a getaway, these colorful and interesting blooms will give you a taste of a tropical retreat.

Calla Lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica)

The calla lilies’ cup-shaped blooms add an elegant form to bouquets. Cut flowers can last over a week in the vase – just be sure to handle the delicate stems and flowers with extra care. While lily is in the name, these plants aren’t actually true lilies.

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia spp.)

This genus of tropical plants produces unique flowers that resemble the stunning birds of paradise. While you can grow these plants as houseplants, the plants are notorious for the difficulty involved in getting them to bloom. Fortunately, you can purchase exotic bouquets that contain bird of paradise flowers.

Ginger Flowers (Various Genera)

While you’re probably familiar with the pungent ginger root, you may not realize this group of plants also produce gorgeous flowers. While culinary ginger does send up flowers, growers often plant other types of ginger specifically for flower production. Some of these flowers resemble pink beehives while others look a bit like a spike covered with red feathers.

Anthurium (Anthurium spp.)

If you’re interested in houseplants, you’re probably already familiar with the anthurium. This plant sends up stems topped with spades and colorful “flowers.” The colorful portion is actually a modified leaf, and the spade it surrounds is made up of lots of tiny flowers! While these flowers are long-lasting on the plant (this makes them a perfect candidate for plant delivery), they can also last for weeks as part of a bouquet.

Lobster Claws (Heliconia spp.)

Red tropical heliconia flower macro isolated on green background

The majority of the species in this group of flowering plants is native to tropical regions in South and Central America, but some species are native to Southeast Asia. Some species have an upright growth pattern, causing their cup-shaped colorful bracts to catch water. Other types of Heliconia produce hanging flowers.

Most Unusual Flowers

If you think you’ve seen it all, wait just a moment. These unusual flowers will make your jaw drop and cause you to rethink everything you thought you know about flowering plants! From interesting scents, unique growth forms, and remarkable flowers, these plants are truly unusual!

Corpse Flower (Titan arum)

Rare corpse flower, or amorphophallus titanum, the world's largest flower, blooming in greenhouse

Although it’s native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, you may be able to find the corpse flower in botanical gardens around the world. It takes this plant seven to ten years to obtain enough energy to bloom, and each humongous flower lasts for only one to two days. Plus, the flower smells like rotting flesh!

Stinking Corpse Lily (Rafflesia arnoldii)

Rafflesia, the biggest flower in the world. This species located in Ranau Sabah, Borneo. Malaysia

Yes, there’s more than one flower that smells like a rotting corpse! Also known as the corpse flower or giant padma. This plant puts out a strong stench in order to attract the carrion flies that act as pollinators. It parasitizes a member of the grape family and does not have leaves, roots, or stems. It’s also the largest single flower on Earth!

Surprise Lily (Lycoris spp.)

Japanese cluster amaryllis cv

While many plants produce leaves then flower shortly after, surprise lilies do things a bit differently. After you place bulbs in the ground, the plants will send up leaves that later die back. At this point, you may believe your plant is a dud. However, a few months later, the plants send up tall stalks topped with stunning flowers.

Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin)

Pink and white hairy flowers of albizia, a Persian silk tree, growing in a garden on a sunny summer day. Blurry background with green leaves.

Also known as mimosa trees, these small trees produce silky flowers that resemble little pom-poms. If that’s not enough of a reason to love them, they have a uniquely sweet fragrance. Although these trees are native to much of Asia, they have become invasive in parts of the United States. So keep that in mind before you add one of these trees to your yard.

Black Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri)

Closeup of Tacca chantrieri Andre, Chantrier Tacca

It’s uncommon to find a black flower. It’s extraordinarily rare to come across a dark flower as strange looking as the black bat flower. These plants are native to Southeast Asia, where they grow in the understories of forests. Bat plants also come in other colors, but there’s something magical about this one.

Girlfriend Kiss (Palicourea elata)

Hot Lips flower. Psychotria elata. Trinidad. 2010

While the small yellow flower of the girlfriend kiss plant isn’t anything special, the bright red bracts surrounding the bloom are unlike anything else you’ve ever seen…except for a pair of lips, of course. This plant is extremely sensitive to environmental conditions and is rarely found outside of its native habitat in South and Central America. And since its native rainforest environment is being threatened by deforestation, this plant has become endangered.

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