The wonderful world of weird plant features ~ Archive

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The wonderful world of weird plant features. Here we are, the conclusion and archive of those support articles. As you might already know, those articles describe wonderful adaptations in the plant world. Over the many years of evolution, cultivation, and documentation some strange things popped up. Some more than others. Other than a fun read, this archive and the connected articles are meant to inspire artists and world builders and expand their scope of knowledge. Those examples are just a small collection of what goes on in our world, but it's enough to make you as artists become aware and start discovering on your own. Our world is full of the wonderful and remarkable. Many things of that most people are not even aware of. But because they exist in our world, they can be a really nice place to start when building creatures or worlds.

Hi! My name is Tessa, I’m a Dutch artist, art director, and creative project manager. I love to share my passion for this craft, nature, art and fantasy, and do that by creating this archive and community, alongside my company Tez Art & Design.

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The wonderful world of weird plant features

The wonderful world of weird plant features is built to inspire you. What strange crop could a fictional species be harvesting? What kind of camouflage could also be part of a defense or offense? Which interesting features could be applied to a character or an anthromorph?
The goal of this archive is to explore what does exist and help you imagine what doesn’t exist in an effort to make you cross the boundaries of what is real and what is not real in a very believable and organic way.

I’d like you to refer you to the archive about Interesting animal facts and features for artists as well for more inspiration!

I highly recommend not to read the short facts after the link if you’d like to be inspired by a more thorough `description.

Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 1

Image by: Wikipedia

This article is all about organic thermal gems, science fiction fruit, and explosive seeds.

Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 1

  • Water lilies can kill off other plants by suppressing and piercing them with their leaves. They can trap beetles to help with pollination, and change color when they are pollinated. The flowers are thermal as well, which will keep the beetle nice and warm while it’s trapped.
  • Science fiction fruit, also known as Kiwano’s are actual plants from our world. But they look so strange that they are used in science fiction movies like Star Wars. Check out the article for more plants that look otherworldly.
  • The seedpods of some plants explode to disperse their seeds far and wide.

Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 2

Lichen is often thought of as moss or a plant, but it is all but.
Image from: Unsplash

The wonderful world of weird plant features holds quirting plants, the strange world of lichen, and corpse flowers among many other things. Here are some more plants to wonder about!

Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 2

  • Some plants explode in a different way. Rather than shooting their seeds away, they squirt them away in a big wet stream of the kind you don’t want to get into your mouth. despite the fact, that they’re a family of cucumbers.
  • Lichen is often thought of as mosses, but they’re not. They’re fungi, but also animals. To be more precise, they’re a colony of fungi and bacteria living in symbiosis.
  • The corpse flower is an extremely rare and remarkable plant. Its scent is just one of them,

Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 3

Parasitic plants, meat-eating plants, and shy plants, You can find them all in this article!

A sundew is one of many carnivorous plant species.
Image from: Unsplash

Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 3

  • The Rafflesia is a very stinky parasitic plant of 1,5 meters large. Its single flower without leaves grows off the roots of plants and its beauty only makes up slightly for the stink they spread.
  • There are many carnivorous plants that feed on mostly insects in several ways. These plants are specialized in living in nutrient-poor soils and compensate by catching insects in a myriad of ways.
  • The Mimosa plant has a remarkable defense mechanism against herbivores. When the leaves are touched they will close up, This way the plant doesn’t look as tasty as it did before.

Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 4

Remarkably shaped peppers, alien-like plants that look like female genitalia and well, ironically I would say, is a parasite like the Rafflesia plant, and the sausage tree that well, doesn’t leave anything to the imagination either.

An orange variety of Peter Pepper. They also come in bright red.

Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 4

  • Peter Pepper is a cultivated pepper plant that looks like a penis.
  • Jackal food is a really strange-looking plant that acts like a fungus. It’s a parasitic plant eaten a lot by Jackals.
  • The size of the sausage trees sausages is impressive, to say the least. Only giants could possibly find joy in the matured pods of up to 12 kg (26 pounds).

Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 5

Spiky trees, explosive pods, vampire plants, and whistling thorns. They sound like stories right of a horror movie, but they’re all too real.

A node of a whistling thorn.
Image by Martin Sharman

Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 5

  • The sandbox tree is out there to kill you. The spiky bark can injure you pretty badly. And if that’s not enough, it has seedpods you don’t want to get on your head. Worse even, you don’t even want to be near them because those pods can and will explode and can injure you pretty badly.
  • The vampire plant is one of several plants that creep on and over to other plants, stealing their sunlight. As the name suggests, this is a parasitic plant as well. It can infest a whole area, killing all the native plants within it.
  • A whistling thorn is a plant that can whistle. No by itself, no. It lives in symbiosis with ants that dig holes through their swollen nodes. When the wind blows at the right angle, the plant will sound like it’s whistling. You can hear the whistling sound from a great distance.

Obtaining a visual library as an artist

Whether you are world-building or creating creatures and characters. Having a good visual library and solid knowledge of what exists in our world is game-changing. Knowing different kinds of animals is one thing. But knowing about plants, that usually just passively exist, is a different thing. Anything in our world is unique in its own way, but plants had far more time to evolve than animals did. Their complexity and the variation among species, therefore, are both more nuanced and more outlandish than that of most animals. This of course within their own rights.

If you are creating a new world, culture, character, or creature, knowing a thing or two about unique plants can be a game-changer. They can communicate about how violent or friendly one of the above is and how it is evolving. Plants are fairly untapped when it comes to especially creature and character design. Specifically when the latter is leaning into Anthropomorphism. So they can bring you a huge source of inspiration to literally draw from!

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