Weird features of the plant kingdom
This article is part of a series about strange plant features. They are here to help you get inspired for your next artistic endeavor. You can start reading them right here, no need to start with number 1. The other articles you can all find at the bottom! Have fun and be amazed!
The plant that squirts
We already tackled a plant species that explodes, so why not continue with one that squirts. Have you ever heard of the Squirting Cucumber? Ahh yes, cucumbers… One of the most common foods we find on the table these days. But this group of plants is so large that you’re easily in for a surprise. And this one might just surprise you most of all, and I mean, literally!
This cucumber looks more like a seed pod than an actual cucumber. And you shouldn’t be eating this one. It’s so poisonous that it can, and most likely will be fatal when ingested, The beauty of this thing though isn’t even its ornamental properties. Yes, it’s also hard to actually prop up. Because as soon as the fruit ripens, and it’s touched, the pod will let go from the stem as soon as it’s touched. And when it does so it squirts like no other.
When the fruit is still attached it forms big black seeds inside and is filled with fluids under high pressure. When the fruit is ripened and the seeds have matured, the pressure is so high within the fruit that the slightest movement will flick it off of its stem.
As this happens, fluids and seeds are shot out of the opening. In doing so it can shoot its seeds 6 meters (20 ft) away!
Lichen is not exactly a plant, they are fungi. They’re also animals, kinda. They are hosts, that can’t live without their counterparts. These counterparts can live without the lichen, but rather don’t. Most lichens live in symbiosis with algae and bacteria.
Interestingly, it was lichen that first left the water and colonized land and it still covers vast areas and is the main food source of many animals that live in very cold climates. Lichen is the predecessors of fungi and still are to this day dependent on organisms like algae and bacteria to survive.
Lichen is dependent on the sugars that are provided by algae and bacteria that can photosynthesize, in return the lichen provides a safe home to these algae and bacteria that are at a significantly lower risk of drying out and being damaged by UV light.
Just look at trees, rocks, and everything that has been around for a while and you will find lichen everywhere. Lichen is also called cap fungi. They form 98% of all the fungi on this planet and they are the kind that forms a symbiosis.
It exists, and it’s a very remarkable plant. The corpse flower, also known as titan arum only blooms once every 7 to 9 years for a total of roughly 2 days. It’s the largest unbranched inflorescence known to exist. It is a remarkable otherworldly plant with well… An otherworldly smell. Think of garlic, cooked onions, and Limburger cheese, doused in putrid sweat and topped off with rotting meat. It stinks!
The corpse flower falls under carrion flowers. This is a type of flower that attracts scavengers to help to pollinate them. And we all know what happens when we leave the meat to rot… Flies, many flies! And if you live in the rainforest of Sumatra, where this plant comes from, beetles as well.
Interestingly, you will only ever see this flower alone, without any foliage, This is because this plant has 2 life cycles. It first goes into a greenery stage which dies off after 12-18 months to either start that cycle again or to grow a large flower instead.
Check out this wonderful timelapse to fully appreciate the magnificence of this strange flower.
- Fantastic specialization of living organisms – LtL (lifetolegend.com)
- The importance of environments in your creature design + case study – LtL (lifetolegend.com)
- Creating a fictional world – Dry heathlands habitat – LtL (lifetolegend.com)
- Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 1 – LtL (lifetolegend.com)
- Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 3 – LtL (lifetolegend.com)
- Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 4 – LtL (lifetolegend.com)
- Weird features of the plant kingdom – Part 5 – LtL (lifetolegend.com)