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10 of the World’s Stinkiest Flowers (Slideshow)

10. Hydnora africana

It would be an understatement to describe Hydnora africana as “weird.” It doesn’t photosynthesize and has no chlorophyll; while it’s classified as a plant, it’s similar to fungi in its habits. The plant itself grows underground, living as a parasite on the roots of other plants. You’d never know it was there if it wasn’t for its fleshy flower, which emerges from the ground to attract pollinators (yes, the picture above is a flower, not some hungry alien).

Like many of the plants on this list, it advertises itself to pollinators by emitting a strong odor—in this case, a stink of feces, designed to appeal to dung and carrion beetles. Unlike the other plants on this list, it doesn’t just let its pollinators fly by; instead, it actually traps the poor beetles in its flower tube, where they must stay until the flower is completely opened.

Photo Credit: Lytton John Musselman [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons



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Molly Allison

Molly is a nature and travel enthusiast who is passionate about endangered languages, natural history, and women's and LGBT issues. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, reading, and hanging out with her three cats.


+ add your own
5:37PM PDT on Oct 6, 2012

amazing and intresting

2:48PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

Great,,,,,Please send a bunch everyday to the Irish Government for as long as they are in power,,,,,Thanks..

2:22AM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Amazing :)

4:30PM PDT on Sep 28, 2012

that is pretty

4:01PM PDT on Sep 28, 2012


8:54PM PDT on Sep 26, 2012

Plants will use aroma to attract pollinators. A sweet scent to attract insects, mammals -- both terrestrial and flying, -- and birds. They will also use scent to attract insects with bad smells, the smell of rotten meat for flies. The flies will go these flowers, and collect the pollen, just like other animals. To disperse it onto other flowers. Need some flies to pollinate your Rafflesia?

8:19PM PDT on Sep 26, 2012


12:04PM PDT on Sep 26, 2012


2:58AM PDT on Sep 26, 2012


2:21AM PDT on Sep 26, 2012

And they're all so pretty!

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people are talking

Yeah. It's not about the planet as such, more about living species and ecosystems they depend on. …

Thank you for sharing. I have a hard time eating protein at breakfast.


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