Welwitschia mirabilis: World's Most Resistant Plant
Dionaea muscipula: the Venus Fly Trap
Rafflesia arnoldii: World's Largest Flower
Rafflesia Arnoldii, recently assigned to the Euphorbiaceae family, is the biggest individually produced flower in the world. It gets to be 3 feet across and weighing a whopping 15- 24 pounds. That's pretty darn big but still you would not like this flower in your perennial bed. Why is that? If you could mimic a rainforest type environment for this plant, it gives off a most offensive odor when in bloom. This scent is somewhat like rotting meat. This is why it is often called the Corpse Plant by some natives of Indonesia where it originates.
Its blossoms only last three days to a week. But in those few days it needs a miracle or two just for survival. This hideous smell it produces attracts pollinating insects to it to help perpetuate the species. But even when this happens only 10-20 percent of the tiny seedlings make it. With any luck in nine months it blooms.
Desmodium gyrans: the Dancing Plant
Darwin called the plant Hedysarum; modern botanists call it either Desmodium Gyrans, or more correctly these days, Codariocalyx Motorius. Its common name is Dancing Grass or Telegraph Plant or Semaphore Plant -- after the leaf movements, which resemble semaphore signals. For all of its uses this plant is easy to grow, dancing happily on a sunny windowsill and watered when dry. Some say it dances best to the "Greatful Dead!"
Euphorbia obesa: the Baseball Plant
Amorphophallus titanum: the Corpse Flower
Baobab: the Bottle Tree
Dracaena cinnabari: the Dragon Blood Tree
Mimosa púdica: the Shy Plant
Mimosa Pudica (pudica = shy), or the Sensitive Plant, has a curiosity value: the compound leaves fold inward and droop when touched or shaken, re-opening within minutes. The species is native to South America and Central America, but is now a pantropical weed. Who would know that plants have feelings too?