Once in my life, we all came across strange or unusual plants. In general, acquaintance with such representatives of the plant world begins in childhood, when we see a cactus, and do not understand what it is. We are told that this is a plant. But after all, no leaves, no stem, nothing that the child regards as belonging to a normal plant, no. This article looks at even more strange plants, which are more similar to those from another planet.
Velvichia is amazing (Welwitschia mirabilis).
This deserted dwarf tree can live up to 2,000 years. The trunk of the plant is short and hemp-shaped, from which a pair of leaves leaves in two directions. As they grow, they break into longitudinal bands, and their tips dry out. The age of these giant leaves is equal to the age of the tree itself. Despite the dying off of the tips, leaves from the base are constantly growing at a speed of 8-15 cm per year. Sometimes the length of the leaves can reach 8 meters, and their width – 1.8 meters. Velvichia grows in the south of Angola, in a stony desert. Usually a plant can be found no more than a hundred kilometers from the shore – it is vital for it to have fogs that give moisture. The plant itself is extremely ascetic, turbine twisted leaves help precious water to get to the roots.
This is a genus of amazing plants that do not form roots, stems, leaves, or grows on the islands of Southeast Asia (Java, Sumatra, etc.). Rafflesia lives by parasitizing the tissues of other plants, usually in the role of “host” are the creepers. This plant is distinguished by the impressive size of the flower, whose diameter can exceed 1 meter, and the mass – more than 10 kg. Clusters of such flowers resemble something alien. Only here the fragrance they do not please the esthete – the flowers have a smell similar to rotten meat. It is not surprising that such an aroma attracts flies, which become the main pollinators of the flower. Yes, and the color scheme of the plant strongly resembles a piece of meat, with its characteristic veins and cartilage. It is interesting that the inhabitants of Sumatra have long used rafflesia for medicinal purposes. It was believed that the extract from flower buds helps women to restore the figure after giving birth, and flowers help men restore potency.
This genus, like Rafflesia, is famous for its fragrance of decaying flesh. The flower has a terrible smell, few people can stand next to him without special protective equipment. Most representatives of the genus have a huge flower, so, in some plants of the species Amorphophallus titanum, it can reach a height of 2.5 meters with diameters of 1.5 meters. This, by the way, is one of the world’s largest inflorescences. Growing amorphophallus in the tropics and subtropics, in flat places. It is interesting that in many countries of the East tuber plants are widely used in cooking. Thus, in China, Amorphophallus has been cultivated for 1500 years as a dietary product that reduces cholesterol. In Japanese cuisine, the tubers are used in the preparation of soups, they are added to stews. Opuntia bigelovii (opuntia bigelovii).
It is one of the most amazing species of the Opuntia family of the Cactus family. Usually in the area where this species grows, you can see a large number of fluffy two-meter cacti. When the sun sets, it looks fantastic. A person who finds here can get the impression that he visited another planet as part of a space expedition, and around him there are unknown forms of life. Opuntia is valuable for its fruits, it is also used as a hedge and as a feed for animals.
Carnegie giant (Carnegiea gigantea).
This is another of the amazing plants of the Cactus family. The most amazing thing about it is its size. Growing in Arizona, Mexico and California, Carnegie can reach a height of as much as 14 meters, while its diameter is up to 3 meters. Individual cacti live to that up to one and a half centuries.
Almost all plants of this genus can be safely called predators, since they receive the necessary nutrients by digesting caught insects. Most species grow in the tropics of Asia, mainly on the island of Kalimantan. The leaves of the plant are reminiscent of the shape of the water lily. To attract insects on the inner surface of the pitcher, there are special cells that both give off the attracting nectar, and there are also hair cells that serve to hold the captured victim. The trap is very sophisticated – the surface on the neck of the jug is very slippery, so the victims slide down where they fall into the water and sink. Individual species contain up to 2 liters of water in the lily. For the processing of insects by the plant, enzymes are produced, sometimes even mice, rats and small birds fall into the trap. Venerina flytrapper (Dionaea muscipula).
This killer plant is even more amazing, as it takes much more active action to capture prey. The leaves of the plant are peculiar jaws that slam shut, captivating not only insects, but even snails and frogs. Digestion of food takes about 10 days, on average, during the life of the plant, 3 insects enter its jaw. The flycatcher grows in the temperate zone, on the Atlantic coast of the USA.
Ficus bengal (Ficus benghalensis).
Many in the photos see not one plant, but the whole of their forest, although this is erroneous. The fact is that this ficus is characterized by a special form of life – banyan. Ficus forms powerful branches, from which shoots or “air” roots grow. Most of them wither, never reaching the land, more successful roots take root, forming new pillars-trunks. This plant grows in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The tree can eventually grow so that it takes several hectares. Sequoia evergreen (Sequoia sempervirens).
This tree growing in California is known for being the tallest tree in the world. Compared with him, our temperate forests are just grass. This is not surprising, because the age of some reaches 3,500 years, and the height exceeds 110 meters. The diameter of the largest sequoia was more than 11 meters. Some of the most remarkable trees have even their own names, once in the trunks of such trees hollowed out houses and cut through tunnels for highways. When a strong wind blows, finding a forest with sequoias can become unpleasant – not everyone can withstand the swaying of gigantic trunks and a noisy gnash from them. Puya Raymond (Puya raimondii).
This plant grows in the Peruvian and Bolivian Alps. It is known for having the largest inflorescence, which in height reaches 12 meters, and in diameter up to 2.5 meters. It includes 10 thousand simple flowers. Blossoms pouya only once in life, reaching its 150th anniversary, after which the plant dies.
Ongaonga (Urtica ferox) or New Zealand nettle tree.
This plant has a tree-like trunk, and its spines are unusually dangerous. They contain formic acid and histamine. The nettle tree can reach 5 meters in height, the slightest touch to it leads to the appearance of a painful burn. There are cases of death from a tree’s poison of horses, dogs and at least one person. It is interesting that the plant is the main food of butterfly larvae Red Admiral.
Ginkgo (Gínkgo bilóba)
is a relic plant that grows in China. The species arose 16 million years ago, so this plant is the oldest of those that grow on the planet. Another name for ginkgo is “silver apricot”. In form, these are trees with falling leaves, the height of plants can reach 30 meters. Some trees can live up to 2500 years. Of the leaves of ginkgo, medicinal preparations are prepared. Recently it has become fashionable to use compounds from leaves, although the medical effect from them is far from obvious.