There are millions of flower types in the world….each with unique beauty and characteristics. Here are our top ten most fascinating flowers…
Thought to be the world’s oldest living rose (at over 1000 years) the Hildesheim rosebush grows on the wall of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Hildesheim, Germany. According to local legend, the rosebush predates the cathedral which was built in 872 and was the inspiration for the founding of the town. Whether the legend is true or not, the rose has become a symbol of continuity for Hildesheim, surviving a bombing in 1945 and flourishing to this day.
Watermeal (Wolffia Arrhiza)
The smallest flower in the world comes from a water-loving plant – found floating on the top of quiet ponds and streams, a bouquet of Wolffia blooms could fit on the head of a pin. The whole plant is less than a millimetre long and not only does it claim the smallest flower in the world, it also produces the smallest fruit.
This rainforest-dweller produces the largest flower on earth; at a whopping 1m wide and weighing up to 11kg, this gargantuan bloom is also one of the rarest. Found only in the hot climates of Sumatra and Borneo, it is unknown how many specimens survive thanks to the disappearing rainforest and the difficulty of locating the flower – although the plant spends months growing, it blooms for just a few days.
Rafflesia Arnoldii is a member of the unfortunate group of plants that smells like rotting flesh.Image Source
Opium Poppy (Papaver Somniferum)
Despite being an easy source of opium, this ornamental flower is found in gardens all over Europe, America and Asia. Whilst opium is a controlled substance in many places the law is rarely enforced when it comes to flowers – poppy seeds are even a tasty addition to cakes and bagels, despite (or perhaps because of!) their mild narcotic properties.Image Source
This carnivorous plant uses bright colours and an attractive scent to disguise itself as a beautiful flower. Unlucky insects who crawl inside are lured into a pitfall trap and become the plant’s next meal.
Like many of our fascinating flowers, the pitcher plant is found in tropical climates. The ‘flower’ is filled with a syrupy liquid that drowns unlucky insects and slowly digests them. To stop insects escaping once they’ve fallen into the trap, the vertical walls are slippery smooth. It’s not all bad though – the plant also catches rainwater, which according to locals provides a handy drinking vessel for monkeys.Image Source
Titan Arum (Amorphophallus Titanium)
Another incredibly smelly plant, it’s no wonder this tropical bloom was nicknamed the ‘corpse flower’. Technically a cluster of flowers flanked by a single spathe (that’s leaf to you and me) the Titan Arum reaches up to 3 metres in circumference and cultivated specimens have grown to over 9ft in height. Similarly to the Rafflesia Arnoldii, Titan Arum likes tropical climes and due to its rarity and dramatic style, is beloved of collectors the world over.
Flowering events of Titan Arum were once so rare that in 1939 after one such event, Titan Arum became the official flower of the Bronx.Image Source
Kadupul Flower (The Legendary Flower)
According to legend, when this flower blooms the Celestial Nagas descend from their heavenly abode to offer them to the Buddha on the Holy Mountain. Native to Sri Lanka, the Kadupul flower blooms rarely during the local holy season and only at night – mysteriously, the flower wilts before dawn.
This fossilised specimen is the oldest flowering plant ever found – at the grand old age of 125 million years it’s thought to be a primitive predecessor of modern flowers. In evolutionary terms, Archaefructus Sinensis was a big leap forward from contemporary plants – with seeds that were enclosed for protection, this probably accounted for the plant’s success. Scientists think the prehistoric plant bears a resemblance to the modern-day Water Lily. It’s thought to have lived in shallow lakes that might have been shared with dinosaurs!
Oleander (Nerium Oleander)
Valued for its attractive flowers, the Oleander is actually one of the most poisonous plants known to man. Eating a single leaf could be fatal to a child and even the flowers are toxic, but despite this it remains a popular choice for lining freeways in the United States. With its bewitching fragrance and showy blooms, this plant is beautiful and deadly. Image Source
1.68million Yuan Orchid
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the world’s most expensive flower is an orchid. In 2005 this rare and special flower sold for 1.68 million Yuan (over £150,000). It was grown in China by the Shenzen Nongke Group, making it the only one of its kind. Despite common opinion at the time that the flower was ‘ugly’, it was snapped up at auction by an anonymous buyer.
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