8 Funny & Strange Plant Names (Slideshow)

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”
- Romeo and Juliet

Mother-in-Law’s Cushion or Hens and Chicks certainly don’t sound like plants that are easy on the eyes. But, like William Shakespeare’s Juliet once opined, does the name itself really matter?! Read on for some plants with seriously strange and amusing names, and a little insight into how they got those names in the first place!

Earlier: 8 of the World’s Most Beautiful Gardens


1. Sausage Tree

No, those aren’t brats hanging off of this tree — they’re actually fruit! Native to tropical Southern Africa, the sausage tree’s fruit is highly poisonous when eaten raw, but is fermented, dried or roasted to be consumable. Be careful if you ever come across one of these trees — the fruit, which can weigh over 20 pounds, can really hurt someone if it falls!

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2. Mother-In-Law’s-Cushion

Oh, those poor Mother-In-Laws — do they ever get a break?! Also known as the golden barrel cactus, this humorously named plant originates in Mexico. You likely recognize them as a popular houseplant, however, they’re critically endangered in the wild.

Related: 6 Wonderfully Weird Succulents (Slideshow)


3. Kiss-Me-Over-the-Garden-Gate

Native to China, Kiss-Me-Over-the-Garden-Gate was first grown in the United States by Thomas Jefferson. So what’s with the name? Well, it’s likely because of how nice it looks on growing against a white picket fence!

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


4. Obedient Plant

What, exactly, makes the obedient plant so darn obedient? These gorgeous flowers, native to the United States, stay put when moved and are very easy to grow.

Earlier: 6 Strange & Scary Plants (Slideshow)


5. Hens and Chicks

These ground succulents, native to Northern Africa and Europe, are a popular plant in gardens across the globe. Stumped about why on earth they’re called “hens and chicks”? Well, we are too! Check out this page, though, to learn about the origin of hens and chicks’ Latin name.

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6. Resurrection Fern

The resurrection fern is so named because it can seemingly come back from the dead. As you’ll see in contrast in the photo above, the fern withstands severe droughts by taking on the traits of a dead plant. As soon as even a tiny bit of water hits its leaves, though, its full color is restored within 24 hours.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


7. Dinosaur Food

These giant leaves certainly would not look out of place in Jurassic Park! Native to Brazil, Dinosaur Food can grow up to 10 ft by 10 ft and are not, despite their name, edible!

Also Check Out: 8 of the Most Beautiful Waterfalls on Earth


8. Monkey Puzzle Tree

When the Monkey Puzzle Tree was first brought to England from its native Chile, a friend of a gardener purportedly exclaimed, “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that,” and thus the oddly shaped tree got its name. The species’ age makes it a living fossil, and it is protected in its native land.

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Dave C.
David C8 months ago


Jennie C.
Jennie C.3 years ago

Love the TickleMe Plant that moves like an animal and is so much fun to tickle!

Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ
Sonia M3 years ago

Interesting.Thanks for sharing

Loo Samantha
Loo sam4 years ago


Dale Overall

Fascinating, already aware of several. Always a delight to check out plants/trees that I am unacquainted with. So many varieties are scattered across the world. Love the sausage tree, interesting that the fruit gets so heavy. Many intriguing leaves.

Jennie C.
Jennie C.4 years ago

I love the pet TickleMe Plant because it really does moves like it is being Tickled when you Tickle It! See video use coupon code GIFT to save $2.00

Samantha Hodder
Sam Hodder4 years ago

love these!

Katja S.
Katja S4 years ago

Resurrection ferns are awesome! I bought my mum one for Yule, she loves it.

Despina Vekris
Despina Vekris4 years ago


Despina Vekris
Despina Vekris4 years ago