From every corner of the planet, very few unique and rare flowers have managed to attract the curiosity and interest of botanists and horticulturists alike. These exotic and expensive flowers cover all types of flora imaginable, providing a glimpse into just how distinctive the various paths of evolution can be. The following uncommon flowers are sure to pique your interest and cause you to reevaluate just how much you think you know about the quirks and oddities of the natural world. From the Black Bat Flower to the Kokia Cookei, here are 25 rare flowers that are stunning to look at.
The flower Youtan Poluo is said to bloom every three thousand years and is directly linked to Buddhism. However, researchers have put in doubt the truth of this assertion. The myth goes like this: Every three thousand years the blooming of the Youtan Poluo marks the arrival of a future king, or a reincarnation of the Buddha. One way or another, Youtan Poluo is an extremely rare flower.
The white lotus is called the Egyptian white water lily or the tiger lotus. The species comes from the Nymphaeaceae family and grows in various parts of Southeast Asia and East Africa. The blossoms float on water with the support of its lily pads. The white lotus is also a popular pond and aquarium plant.
The Snowdonia Hawkweed, one of the rarest flowers in the world, was rediscovered in 2002 growing on a mountain slope in Wales, decades after botanists feared it had become extinct. The unique flower was last reported seen in 1953, and was believed to have been nibbled to death by sheep. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case after all.
Shenzhen Nongke Orchid
The Shenzhen Nongke Orchid is a flower that was completely manmade and got its name from the group that conducted the experiment. It took the researchers eight years to grow and observe the flower. It sells for a high price (about €170,000) not only for its rarity, cultivation, and background, but also for its appearance. It takes four to five years for the orchid to blossom and aside from its beauty, it is also said to have a delicate taste.
Sea Poison Tree
A sea poison tree is a large tree that grows on sandy and rocky shores and has large leaves held in rosettes at the ends of branches. The young leaves are a beautiful bronze with pinkish veins. Old leaves turn yellowish. The flowers are delightful puff balls of white stamens tipped with pink. They open at night and attract large moths and nectar-feeding bats with their heavy scent.
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Attenborough's Pitcher Plant
This rare flower that hails from the Philippines has a very interesting background. After a two-month expeditionary trip into the heart of the jungle on several islands, Stewart R. McPherson, Volker B. Heinrich, and Alastair S. Robinson discovered this plant. This discovery was considered an amazing find since the point of the expedition was to catalog the various indigenous pitcher plants of the Philippines, among which the Attenborough’s Pitcher now has a place. The flower was named after British broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Because of his affinity for the various members of the pitcher plant genus, the homage is definitely appropriate.
This rare flower is found in the rain forests of Indonesia and is considered to be the flower with the world’s largest bloom since it can grow to be three feet across and weigh up to fifteen pounds. It is a parasitic plant, with no visible leaves, roots, or stem. It attaches itself to a host plant to obtain water and nutrients. When in bloom, the Rafflesia emits a repulsive odor, similar to that of rotting meat. This odor attracts insects that pollinate the plant.
One of the strangest plants in the desert, the night-blooming cereus, is a member of the cactus family that resembles nothing more than a dead bush most of the year. It is rarely seen in the wild because of its inconspicuousness. But for one midsummer’s night each year, its exquisitely scented flower opens as night falls, then closes forever with the first rays of the sun.
Imported to Britain two hundred years ago from China, when flowers were a luxury item in most of Europe, Middlemist red is one of the rarest in the world and exists in only two known locations: a greenhouse in the UK, and a garden in New Zealand.
Lisianthus are large gentian-like, bell-shaped flowers with pale purple petal-like lobes that can be found exclusively in the southern United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and northern South America. They bloom in summer from the upper leaf axils and they come in various colors including white, various shades of pink, lavender, deep purple, and bi-colors such as blue-violet.
Lady’s Slipper Orchid
Lady’s slipper orchids are characterized by the slipper-shaped pouches of their flowers that trap insects so they are forced to climb up past the staminode, behind which they collect or deposit pollinia, thus fertilizing the flower. It’s considered Britain’s rarest orchid and one of the region’s most expensive flowers today.
Kokia cookei is considered one of the rarest and most endangered plant species in the world. It was discovered in the 1860s on the western end of Molokai by Mr. Meyer. In 1970, a single plant of the species was discovered at his Molokai residence, probably a surviving relict of the previous cultivated plant. But in 1978, a fire destroyed the last remaining rooted plant of Kokia cookei. Fortunately, before it was destroyed, a branch was removed and later grafted onto a related species at the Waimea Arboretum. Currently, Kokia cookei exists as approximately twenty-three grafted plants.
Another beautiful and rare flower Kadupul flowers come from Sri Lanka. It is white-yellow colored and grows to about ten (four inches) to about thirty (twelve inches) centimeters in diameter and a emanates pleasant fragrance. The Kadupul flower plant is a species of cactus and its scientific name is Epiphyllum oxypetalum.
The jade vine was first seen by Westerners in 1854 by botanists who were members of the US Wilkes Exploring Expedition. They were exploring the dipterocarp forest of Mount Makiling on Luzon, the largest and most northern island of the Philippines, when they encountered the vine. It’s considered to this day one of the rarest flowers on the planet.
Hydrangeas, which come in types that can flourish in sun or shade, offer huge bouquets of clustered flowers, in various arrangements from mophead to lacecap from summer through fall. Varieties of hydrangea differ in plant size and flower shape, color, and blooming period. The only problem is that they are a little too expensive for someone who has many bills to pay.
Golden Parrot’s Beak
The Lotus Vine, or Golden Parrot’s Beak, is a deciduous, tender perennial from the Canary Islands that is most often grown as an annual plant. It’s famous for producing lots of bright, 1″ golden-yellow flowers tipped with red or orange from late spring through early summer and occasionally again in early fall when the temperatures begin to cool.
Gold of Kinabalu Orchid
Gold of Kinabalu Orchid, also known as Rothschild’s Slipper (P. rothschildianum), is an endangered species of orchid that can take up to fifteen years to flower. This rare orchid can be identified by its petals, which it holds horizontally in up to six large flowers. It is considered to be the most expensive orchid in the world.
This magnificent flower is considered one of the rarest and is found on the high cliffs of Gibraltar. The plant was believed to be extinct outside Gibraltar since the late 1970s and by 1992 all traces had vanished and it was officially declared extinct. However, in 1994 a hiker on the cliffs of Gibraltar found a single specimen and its egg was transferred and propagated in the Millennium seed bank and now this plant grows in the Alameda Gibraltar Botanic Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens in London.
The ghost orchid is perhaps the most revered orchid in the United States, if not the world. Its locations and stories are like smoke on the wind. The ghost orchid was discovered by Jean Jules Linden in Cuba in 1844, and the plant was discovered in the subtropical peninsula of Florida about fifty years later.
Flame lily, also known as Gloriosa superba, is a climber with spectacular red and yellow flowers, but all parts of the plant, especially the tubers, are extremely poisonous and can be fatal if eaten.
Carrion flowers, also known as corpse flowers, are flowers that emit an odor that smells like rotting flesh, hence its nickname: “corpse.” Corpse flowers attract mostly scavenging flies and beetles as pollinators. Some species may trap the insects temporarily to ensure the gathering and transfer of pollen.
Believe it or not, this flower is exactly what its name says—a chocolate-scented flower. The chocolate cosmos is a very rare tuberous-rooted, tender perennial native to Mexico.
The saffron crocus, unknown in the wild, descends from Crocus cartwrightianus, which originated in Crete, Greece, and is an extremely rare flower that produces an even rarer (and expensive) spice named saffron. Despite being first cultivated in Greece it was slowly propagated throughout much of Eurasia and was later brought to parts of North Africa, North America, and Oceania.
Black Bat Flower
The Black bat flower is a species of flowering plant in the yam family Dioscoreaceae. It is an unusual plant in that it has black flowers. These flowers are somewhat bat-shaped, are up to twelve inches across, and have long “whiskers” that can grow up to twenty-eight inches. Rumor has it that it is Batman’s favorite flower.
The bleeding heart is a very rare flower mainly because of its attractive mounded foliage with arching stems of delicate, heart-shaped flowers in spring. It thrives in moist woodland gardens along with ferns and other shade-lovers. This flower’s colors include yellow, pink, red, and white. It blooms in spring and may bloom sporadically throughout the summer in cool areas.