Last week, you may have seen our blog on some of our favourite truly bizarre plants from across the world. In the second and final part, we have even more of the weird and wonderful to share with you!

Wood’s Cycad (Encephalartos woodii)

It’s one of the rarest plants in the world: a tall, palm-like tree with dark, glossy leaves that is extinct in the wild. The species was discovered in a small area of the Ngoya Forest in 1895, and years later offsets were collected for cultivation in the Durban Botanic Garden, where they survive to this day. In addition to its rarity, the striking appearance of the Wood’s Cycad makes it one of the most sought-after cycad species in the world.

Encephalartos woodii
Purves, M. [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Waterwheel Plant (Aldorovanda vesiculosa)

Aldorovanda vesiculosa, commonly known as the waterwheel plant, is a remarkable aquatic carnivorous plant from the family Droseraceae. The species captures small aquatic invertebrates using traps that are similar to those of the Venus flytrap, arranged in whorls around a central, free-floating stem. Each trap is covered in trigger hairs that cause them to close when stimulated, making it one of the few plants capable of rapid movement.

Aldorovanda vesiculosa
Jan Wieneke [GNU-FDL (, via Wikimedia Commons

Snowdonia Hawkweed (Hieracium snowdoniense)

It may not be smelly, oversized or unusual looking, but the Snowdonia hawkweed may well be one of the world’s rarest plants! Botanists believed it had become extinct in the early 1950s as a result of overgrazing, but in 2002 it was rediscovered growing on a steep mountain slope in Wales.

Hieracium snowdoniense
By Konstantin Ryabitsev from Montréal, Canada (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Fork-leaved Sundew (Drosera binate)

Drosera binate is a unique sundew that is naturally found in Australia and New Zealand. Its specific epithet is Latin for “having pairs” – a reference to its leaves which are narrow and forked. The carnivorous species is known for its ability to become a large insect-catching ‘bush’ and will produce small pink or white flowers.

Drosera binate
Noah Elhardt [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Devil’s Hand (Chiranthodendron pentadactylon)

We have to admit, when we first saw the hand-shaped blooms of this tree, we were a little spooked! The species is native to Guatemala and southern Mexico, where trees can reach anywhere between 34 and 90 ft. in height. Its distinctive flowers appear in late spring and early summer; the five stamens are long, bright red and curved upward, giving the appearance of a clawed hand. Creepy!

Chiranthodendron pentadactylon
Stan Shebs [GFDL (, CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Western Underground Orchid (Rhizanthella gardneri)

This unusual orchid spends its entire life underground, even remaining below the surface when it flowers in late May and early June. The white leafless plant produces a flower head consisting of over 100 tightly packed, tiny flowers and emits a strong but sweet fragrance. As the species can’t obtain the sun’s energy, it instead feeds on the broom honeymyrtle and fungus for nutrients and carbon dioxide.

Rhizanthella gardneri
By Jean and Fred Hort (Flickr: Underground Orchid) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons