Blood, Body Parts And Evil Angels: 6 Creepy, Weird Or Scary Plants

Hello!

It’s almost summer and the flowers are sprouting, which is the best time to remind ourselves that nature is the weirdest thing you’ll ever experience. As you can tell from previous posts, I love weird nature and creepy creatures, they’re brilliant prompts for stories, but today I shall focus solely on those life forms that were here long before us and will remain when we’re gone – plants.

The Bleeding Tooth Fungus: We’ll start with something really grotesque because you can handle it, you’re grown ups with eyes of steel. The Bleeding Tooth Fungus apparently isn’t poisonous but has a very bitter taste rendering it inedible. Doesn’t it make you hungry though? It reminds me of jam. bleeding-tooth-fungus

It lurks mostly in North American forests but has been spotted elsewhere. The ooze (or sap, if you want to be all sciencey about it) is sometimes yellow (mmm, pus) pink, beige or orange.

Bleeding Tooth Fungus: In French With English text

Angel Trumpet: brugmansia

The very epitome of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, these South American plants appear heavenly but are said to have a darker secret than an Edgar Allen Poe character.

They contain atropine, hyoscyamine and scopolamine, the last of which can apparently be used to alter another person’s state of mind, or create ‘zombies.’ I don’t personally know how true these claims are, much of it sounds a little over-hyped, but cases exist where the plant has been blamed for causing a hypnotic state, such as in the victims of a trio of thieves arrested in Paris who ‘willingly’ handed over possessions. However it’s unclear whether scopolamine can actually remove free will.

World’s Scariest Drug

Rafflesia Flower: We all know of the Titan Arum corpse flower and it’s scent of rotting corpses, but perhaps slightly less known in some parts is the Rafflesia from Southeastern Asia, also known as the corpse flower. Confused? Good.

It’s a parasite which latches onto the roots of a host plant. It’s innards stink of decomposing flesh to attract the flies it feeds on. Naturally, with all this going for it, it’s the official state flower of Indonesia (?).

worlds largest corpse flower Rafflesia Arnoldii

Devil’s Fingers: Mistaken online for an alien life form the Devil’s Fingers fungus, or Octopus Stinkhorn, is truly rather strange.

Growing mostly in Britain it bursts from an other-wordly sack to release it’s foul stench (for attracting flies) into the world.

Devil’s Fingers Time Lapse

Clitoria: clitoriaThe scientist who named this beauty certainly wasn’t shy. He/she saw a flower that looked like it had a clitoris and called it as it was.

Another native of Southeast Asia, this flower is used as food dye or eaten deep fried. Others have historically attempted to give it less ‘controversial’ names but they never stuck because, let’s face facts, it looks like a fanny.

Dracula Orchids: orchid-dracula With a name evoking the undead you would expect these flowers from Central America to look creepy but they’re actually quite cute, if you like monkey faces. Slightly judgmental monkey faces.

Being Orchids these are cultivated by fanciers for their beauty and rarity. They were named Dracula because of the red colour displayed by some.

There we have it my little summer popsicles. Go, now, and frolic amongst the monkey faced fields and corpse laden air. I’ll be watching.

Fungi, drugs and bugs – The surreal and disturbing side of nature

It occured to me the other day how nature remains beautiful even when it’s being downright disgusting or bizarre, and I would like to honour that achievement.

So, today we shall look at the inspiration behind many people’s art: the Weirdness of Nature.

First let’s ease you in gently with some cute kitties on catnip, taken from BBC series Weird Nature:

Second is a series I find quite amusing (and very odd), Sacred Weeds. Shown back in the 90s, two test subjects take a natural hallucinogen (different in each episode) while men in suits ask questions and stare:

This is a rather sweet, inoffensive clip of mushrooms growing from the series Planet Earth (with some music added). I defy anyone not to chuckle at the willy shaped ones:

Back in March New South Wales, Australia was blighted by floods. The locals were evacuated and, desperate to escape the water, these spiders moved “onto higher ground” leaving an entire ghost town engulfed by webs. Story (and creepy pictures) here.

Next up I saw a lot of fairly grim things during the BBC series Life in the Undergrowth (creepy crawlies), but for some reason this made me go all funny:

And these leaopard slugs are beautiful (in a slightly grim, surreal way):

Anything deep sea is like visiting a hostile alien planet (just watch the BBC’s The Blue Planet). In the meantime here’s a little vid with some music:

I’d have loved to find a clip of vampire bats, particularly from the documentary that shows one creeping up on a pig. Unfortunately there isn’t one on youtube that doesn’t have a hokey American voiceover and I just can’t bring myself to do it. So you have to imagine it instead, which is probably good for you.

Penultimately have a look at series The Future Is Wild, where scientists hypothesise in a Walking With Dinosaurs kind of way on the direction the animal kingdom might go millions of years after we’ve disappeared.

Lastly is the one I find most amazing. It has all the elements: it’s beautiful, it’s disturbing, it’s insidious, it’s science fiction in the natural world; the cordyceps fungus, as shown on Planet Earth: