Forget dangerous creatures; some plants can be far more scary. Trapped in one place and slowly and agonisingly digested sarlacc-style? I don’t think anyone would relish that fate (although that said some people do have rather strange tastes these days). Here follows a light-hearted look at some of the more terrifying types of flora out there. Triffids? Poppycock! These little (or, in some cases, big) blighters would definitely give Audrey II a run for its money.
5. Carrion Flowers
As their name suggests, carrion flowers smell like rotting flesh (what, did you expect roses?). Indeed, some plants in the genus also mimic the appearance of decaying meat as well. The titan arum is perhaps the most famous of the carrion flowers (and also holds the record for the world’s largest flower head), having a rather phallic appearance and a special inbuilt mechanism that causes the plant to heat up, thus increasing the strength of that delightful rotting flesh stench. Let’s face it, you aren’t likely to find carrion flowers in your local florist any time soon.
4. Angel’s Trumpets
Despite its heavenly name and rather beautiful appearance, all parts of the Angel’s Trumpet are lethally toxic. Indeed, some places even prohibit its sale and cultivation. Criminals in Colombia have managed to extract scopolamine (one of many deadly chemicals present within the plant), which is a potent drug that can simply be blown into the face of a victim as dust in order for it to take effect. Victims effectively become zombies, entirely unaware of what they’re doing and yet totally conscious. Indeed, a 2007 documentary rather aptly titled Colombian Devil’s Breath told many horror stories about the substance, one of these detailing how a man helped robbers move all of his possessions out of his house (which were then, of course, subsequently stolen).
3. Pitcher Plants
A species of plant that trap their prey by luring them into their pitchers with bright colours and attractive smells, only for them to fall and drown in the liquid within. Generally victims are dissolved into a mineral solution from which the plant derives its nourishment, although sometimes mutualistic insect larvae snack on the trapped creatures, the plant feeding on what they excrete afterwards. Lovely. Some pitcher plants are even so cunningly designed as to have false exits or are otherwise specially shaped to steer unwitting insects straight to their deaths within.
2. The Venus Flytrap
Arguably the most iconic of the creepy, carnivorous plant crowd, Venus flytraps wouldn’t look out of place among the Locust monstrosities in Gears of War 3. With the appearance of teeth and the ability to snap shut in less than half a second (provided at least two of the hairs inside its “mouth” are triggered within twenty seconds), I’m sure I’m not the only one that finds it a little disturbing that this thing is named after the Roman goddess of love. With the trap hermetically sealed around a potential victim, a stomach is effectively created and the unfortunate insect is slowly digested by a combination of enzymes. About ten days later the trap reopens and is ready for dessert.
1. The Apple
Bear with me on this one; it’s time to get a bit mythological. Although the biblical forbidden fruit is never actually identified in the Good Book itself, many scholars theorise that this is why it came be identified as such. I mean, how many fruits can claim to be responsible for damning an entire race? Additionally apples are among the most frequently choked on fruits (at least in my personal experience, anyway), while the seeds also contain a form of cyanide; if you eat enough it’s quite possible to cause yourself some serious harm.
Ella hopes you enjoyed her attempt at branching out (geddit?) from her usual subject of video games.
Article provided by Ella Mcconnell