Monday Fun Facts: Plant Edition

Cheers to another week! Here are your Monday Fun Facts to read and share!

Corpse Flower, Amorphophallus titanum

Location: Sumatra

The corpse flower smells like a rotting corpse. The plant is rare and considered a “threatened species”. “It’s not actually one big flower, but thousands upon thousands of little male and female flowers. These exude oils, while the center collects heat. The heat causes the oils to create the smell that attracts the beetles that pollinate the flower….A mature plant can weigh 200 pounds.”

Corpse flowers…bloom as little as once per decade. Each bloom is proportionately dramatic as the two-day bloom unleashes the overpowering stench of rotting flesh…”

This is “Lou” from the Houston Museum of Natural Science

Bear’s-Head Tooth & Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Location: North America, Europe and Asia

“There has been very little research into any medicinal potential of Hericium americanum. Its relative, Hericium erinaceus, has been extensively researched, and shows real promise as a treatment for maladies as varied as Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive performance, digestive problems, and cancers.”

Hericium americanum‘s taste is somewhat reminiscent of fish or shellfish, and it can be used to make “crab” cakes and soups, as well as being pan-fried.”

Silver Torch Cactus, Cleistocactus strausii

Location: Bolivia and Argentina

“The silver torch cactus is wooly…and the way the flowers are shaped is unusual. These cacti bloom horizontally. It’s also a very unusual cactus in that it prefers cold temperatures. It lives in the high mountains of Bolivia and Argentina and can withstand frosts of up to minus 10 degrees celsius.”

Dragon’s-Blood Tree, Dracaena cinnabari

Location: Yemen (Socotra archipelago)

Its sap is a deep red, even when dried into resin.

“The Dragon’s-Blood Tree has a range of traditional medicinal uses. Referred to by the ancients as ‘cinnabar’, it was well known in trade before 60AD; and the dye ‘dragon’s blood’ is thought to have been responsible for the intense color of Stradivarius violins.”

Hydnora, Hydnora africana

Location: Southern Africa

A parasitic plant.

“The Hydnora grows completely underground except for the flower which is shaped to maximize the efficiency of its bristles in directing beetles to its unpleasant center…It doesn’t eat the beetles. It just keeps them. It traps them until the flower is completely mature, and then releases all the beetles to go forth into the world and pollinate and reproduce.”

It also bears fruit! “The fruit takes two years to mature underground, is said to be similar in taste and texture to a potato, yet useful for tanning leather and preserving fishnets.” 

“These fruits are favored by mammals such as porcupines, moles, baboons, jackal and also birds.”

Have a great week, and stay tuned for next Monday’s five!

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