8 Wondrous Plants That Have Real Superpowers
We’ve gotten used to seeing humans and animals as superheroes with superpowers in movies and cartoons, but surprisingly the world of plants also has a few species that have exceptional qualities too. They can reach incredible sizes, survive fires, shoot their seeds with enormous force, and even eat small animals! Beware: These “monster plants” are ready to show their unearthly powers.
Here at Bright Side it took us a while to believe that plants like these exist, and now it’s your turn to be surprised!
1. Corpse flower, or titan arum
- Name: Amorphophallus titanum, or titan arum
- Nickname: Corpse Flower
- Superpower: Has nauseating flower power
- Curious facts: It is a real giant in the world of plants, as its flowers can rise 9.8 feet above the ground. The flowering of these amazing plants is unpredictable and it always makes headlines when it happens.
- Location: In nature, titan arum is found in the rainforests of Sumatra, while a few these plants can also be found in big botanical gardens.
2. Sandbox tree, or Hura crepitans
- Name: Hura crepitans
- Nickname: Sandbox tree
- Superpower: Exploding fruit with seeds
- Curious facts: The trunk of this tree looks unearthly thanks to huge conical spikes that it uses for self-defense. Its flowers give pumpkin-shaped fruits that open into segments with a loud explosive sound, and throw the seeds up to 46 feet away from the tree.
- Location: This tropical tree is native to the regions of North and South America.
3. Corpse Lily, or Rafflesia arnoldii
- Name: Rafflesia arnoldii
- Nickname: Corpse lily
- Superpower: Growing on the roots of its host
- Curious facts: It is the largest known individual flower on the planet, reaching up to 3.2 feet in diameter. Rafflesia arnoldii is a parasite. It doesn’t have roots or leaves of its own and grows on the woody stems of its host. The flower uses its revolting smell, that some people compare to the smell of decaying meat, to attract carrion flies who pollinate it.
- Location: You can find this plant growing in Indonesia, or find preserved specimens in botanical gardens.
4. Sensitive Plant, or Mimosa pudica
- Name: Mimosa pudica
- Nickname: Sensitive plant
- Superpower: Closing leaves and drooping
- Curious facts: Anyone who has touched a Mimosa pudica knows that this plant is called sensitive (or humble) for a reason. This curious plant responds to touch by closing its leaves and drooping. These unusual movements can be explained by a quick water release from the cells located on leaflets and leaf stalks. The leaves will normally open up again within a few minutes.
- Location: The plant is native to South and Central America, and widespread in other warm regions.
5. Whistling Thorn, or Vachellia drepanolobium
- Name: Vachellia drepanolobium
- Nickname: Whistling thorn
- Superpower: Whistling to keep animals away
- Curious facts: This acacia tree produces a whistling sound from the bulbous bases of its thorns. The most unusual thing about this plant is that it maintains a “friendship” with ants. Both the tree and the ants gain mutual advantages from their symbiosis: ants use the hollow bulbs of the thorns as their homes, and make tiny holes in those bulbs. The holes make the whistling sound that is supposed to keep animals away from the plant's branches and leaves.
- Location: The whistling tree is native to Africa.
6. Queen Victoria's Water Lily, or Victoria amazonica
- Name: Victoria amazonica
- Nickname: Queen Victoria's Water Lily
- Superpower: Can holds weight, up to 99 lbs
- Curious facts: The superpower of Victoria amazonica is hidden inside its huge and incredibly strong circular leaves, which can grow to over 8.2 feet in diameter. The air trapped in the ribs of the leaves allows them to float and hold a large amount of weight. During just one season, each plant produces 40-50 leaves that cover the water's surface, preventing any other plants from growing.
- Location: Victoria amazonica grows in Bolivia, but you might also see it cultivated in some botanical gardens.
7. Tropical Pitcher, or Nepenthes
- Name: Nepenthes
- Nickname: Tropical Pitcher
- Superpower: Catching and digesting insects
- Curious facts: The pitcher shaped leaves of the Nepenthes serve as passive traps. The nectar secreted from the trap’s lid attracts insects and other prey that then slip from the upper part of the pitcher and fall into a pool of liquid at the bottom. Unable to escape, the victims drown and eventually get digested by the enzymes of this carnivorous plant.
- Location: The Nepenthes grows in Madagascar, Southeast Asia, and Australia.
- Name: Eucalyptus
- Superpower: Surviving fires
- Curious facts: The leaves of these trees produce large amounts of highly combustible oils and generate a lot of energy when burning. While fire is a disaster for most forest inhabitants, the Eucalyptus uses this disaster to spread its seeds. Fire triggers a massive drop of seeds onto freshly fertilized soil. The trees themselves resist the fire, and their burnt trunks regenerate instead of decomposing.
- Location: Eucalyptus trees are native and common in Australia and often planted in the United States.
Did you know that plants kept so many secrets? Have you seen any of these superheroes in real life? Share your stories and pics in the comments below!