Greener Spaces Better Places blog

The rare, the wonderful and the little bit weird

Who knew Mother Nature was this good?

Planet Earth is an incredibly biodiverse environment, supporting an estimated 8.7 million different species – approximately 300,000 of which are plants. So it’s not too surprising that a few are a little bit outside the ordinary!

Greener Spaces Better Places has done some digging for the rare, the fascinating and the downright surprising – read on to discover some very interesting flora.

Dancing Girls (Impatiens bequaertii)

Native to the rainforests of eastern Africa, the flower of this rare plant looks like a girl dancing in a flowing dress. It kind of also looks like this emoji 🤷‍♀️, right?

Bumble Bee Orchid (Ophrys bombyliflora)

This bright, colourful species hails from the Mediterranean region spanning from Portugal and the Canary Islands, to Turkey and Lebanon. It’s name derives from the Greek terms for “hairy lips” and “bumblebee” – for obvious reasons!

Swaddled Babies (Anguloa uniflora)

The flowers of this small South American orchid are incredible, mimicking a swaddled baby. Fun fact, the petals also smell like cinnamon.

Parrot Flower (Impatiens psittacine)

This beautiful parrot-resembling species can be found in Thailand, Burma and parts of India.

Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana major)

This stunning orchid is a home-grown beauty, found in eastern and southern Australia.

Happy Alien aka Slipper Flower (Calceolaria uniflora)

Another South American plant, these flowers are most amusing when grown in a patch where they look like a marching pack of aliens – or orange penguins!

Dove Orchid aka Holy Ghost Orchid (Peristeria elata)

And yet another South American species of orchid. This one is found in Panama, Venezuela and Ecuador – however it’s considered at high risk of extinction. The Dove Orchid is the national flower of the Republic of Panama.

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🌱 La Flor del Espíritu Santo fue declarada el 21 de octubre de 1980 distintivo nacional de Panamá. Científicamente “La Flor del Espíritu Santo”, se le conoce como “La Peristeria Elata”. Su belleza natural  nos muestra entre algunas cualidades la forma de una paloma blanca con sus pétalos abiertos (representando la figura de dos alas), su mayor esplendor se aprecia durante los meses de julio, agosto, septiembre extendiéndose hasta el mes de octubre; la misma expide una fragancia natural y es de color blanco. 📷 Peristeria elata. #orchid #orquídea #orquídeas #orquidea #orquideas #orchidaceae #orchidee #orchidlover #flor #flores #nature #naturelover #naturepics #natureshots #naturegram #naturephoto #naturephotography #natural #Panamá #Panama #PTY jardín #garden #photoofthenight #photooftheday #Peristeria #Peristeriaelata #Flordelespiritusanto #Espiritusanto

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White Egret Orchid (Habenaria Radiata)

This species, which resembles a white bird in flight, is also endangered. It is found in Asia and is the official flower of Setagaya ward in Tokyo.

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・ 🌱サギソウ🌱 ・ お盆前のこの時期は、 こちらでは鷺草が乱舞する季節となっています。 ・ 今年の酷暑にも負けず、沢山の鷺草が元気に舞ってました✨💞 ・ 今年はいつもとちょっと違ったアングルでパチリ📷✨ ・ 2枚目のバックショットは、最高に魅力的でした😍💕✨ ・ ・ #サギソウ #鷺草 #ラン科 #habenariaradiata #whiteflowers #花好き #花フレンド #野草 #山野草 #はなまっぷ #はなすたぐらむ #山歩き #花好きな人と繋がりたい #ザ花部 #ニコン #登山 #trekking #photo_jpn #flowers #flowerslovers #flowerstagram #wildplants #wildflowers #wp_flower #fever_flowers #flower_special_ #total_flowers #raconsde_flors #nikon #d7500

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The Darth Vader (Aristolochia Salvadorensis)

This ominous-looking plants is native to Brazil. Also a rare one, this plant entices insects with its luminous ‘eyes’ and a strong aroma of rotting flesh. The insects then get caught inside the eyes where they are trapped by hairs and covered with sticky pollen – before being released again to pollinate more blooms.

Monkey Face Orchid (Dracula Simia)

This monkey-mimicking specie’s genus “Dracula”takes its name – yep – from Count Dracula, the mythical vampire. Although this one looks pretty cute, a quick google will reveal some more sinister vampire-ish varieties!

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Dracula simia might be one of those plants that became a little bit too famous too fast. The flowers of this Andean orchid look like monkey faces and therefore it took the internet by storm. Even though it's not a difficult species to grow, its certainly not a simple houseplant that can be grown from seed under ordinary circumstances. Yet seeds of it are commonly for sale on eBay. Often illustrated with the wrong species of Dracula. Don't buy it because it is a scam and you will receive seeds of ordinary flowers or vegetables. If you do want to grow it, make sure you have a cool moist terrarium or greenhouse ready. And get a division of a true plant from a reputable nursery or hobbyist. As substrate they grow perfect in coarse sphagnum, mixed with some perlite to keep airy. The flowerspikes grow downwards so you'll need a basket like pot with lots of openings so that they can find their way out while developing. Then keep the plant semi shady, the substrate moist and fertilize very little. #dracula #orchidsofinstagram #orchidee #pleurothallis #monkeyorchid #orchids #draculasimia #monkey #simia #weirdnature #wildorchids #faceflowers #terrariumplants #orchidslovers

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Ballerina Orchid (Caladenia melanema)

Our last fascinating species is much less intimidating than a vampire monkey face – this delicate plant looks like a ballerina. Another-home grown beauty, this species is native to Western Australia.

Wow! Just Wow!

Feeling inspired? Check our nursery finder to find your closest Greener Spaces Better Places-accredited nursery and see what interesting beauties they have in stock.