Most People Haven’t Seen These Incredibly Rare Flowers

Flowers play an important role in keeping the earth in equilibrium. They can feed insects, and other animals, be used as natural medicine, and help with plant reproduction through pollination. Not only do flowers provide many incredible benefits, but they are also one of the earth’s most beautiful sights.

There are over 400,000 different species of flowers around the world, so it’s unlikely to see them all within a lifetime. The rarest are often the ones with the most unique features.

How The Stinking Corpse Lily Got Its Name

a giant red flower with scales and a dark black middle
Riau Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Riau Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The stinking corpse lily, otherwise known as the rafflesia arnoldi, is the largest flower on the planet. It is most commonly found in Indonesia where it can grow up to three feet in diameter.

Unlike most flowers, the stinking corpse lily doesn’t show any stems, roots, or leaves when it’s in bloom. Its odor is extremely strong and is best compared to decaying flesh. The very first discovery was by a European botanist named Louis Auguste Deschamps in 1797.

The Ghost Orchid Is Now Endangered

a white flower shaped like a person
Rhona Wise/AFP via Getty Images
Rhona Wise/AFP via Getty Images

The scientific name for the ghost orchid is dendrophylax lindenii and it’s most commonly found in Cuba, Florida, and the Bahamas. There are so few of them on earth because they are nearly impossible to grow.

Something unique about the ghost orchid is that it doesn’t depend on photosynthesis to survive. The flower has no leaves and must attach to a host tree in order to grow. It’s now on the endangered species list because most orchid growers have failed at cultivating it both in the wild and in sterile environments.

Parrot’s Beak Almost Looks Like The Real Bird

a red flower in the shape of a parrot's beak
Harald Langeullstein bild via Getty Images
Harald Langeullstein bild via Getty Images

The curvature in parrot’s beak, or clianthus, flowers are what give them their fitting name. Those who wish to seem them in person can find them on the Canary Islands. These grow best during the spring in cooler temperatures. If conditions constantly change it causes the flower to disappear.

Unfortunately, the species started going away in 1884 and very few remain. Almost 90 percent of the population of parrot’s beaks have been eliminated over the past 25 years.

Night-Blooming Cereus Do Something Special Once A Year

a white flower with a yellow center
Peter Kovalev/TASS via Getty Images
Peter Kovalev/TASS via Getty Images

The night-blooming cereus is rarely seen throughout the world because it only blooms for one night a year. It also goes by the name of “queen of the night” and gives off a sweet vanilla fragrance.

Some cultures also use night-blooming cereus in their cuisine. For example, it is a common ingredient found in a Cantonese slow-simmered soup. A few varieties of this flower produce fruits, which can be found in Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Hawaii.

Chocolate Cosmos Smell Just How You’d Imagine

a deep red flower with a yellow stem
FlowerPhotos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
FlowerPhotos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Chocolate cosmos, or cosmos astrosanguineus, are a rare species of flower native to Mexico. They gained popularity around 1861 after those researching the species found that the scent is very similar to chocolate. In order for it to grow properly, it requires fertile, well-drained soil and lots of sun.

These deep red and brown flowers can grow between 40 and 60 centimeters tall and are usually found in pine or oak forests. There were rumors of its extinction, but botanist Aaron Rodriguez found plenty of them in various states across Mexico.

The Black Bat Flower Has Some Striking Physical Features

a black flower shaped like a bat
Paroli Galperti/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Paroli Galperti/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The black bat flower is scientifically known as tacca chantrieri and is actually part of the yam family. They are most commonly found in the Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, Malaysia, and southern China.

One of their most striking features are their whiskers, which can reach up to 28 inches in length. Most black bat flowers prefer shade, high humidity, and need a lot of water. All of their nutrients are stored in a bulb that’s hidden beneath the soil.

Jade Vines Get Lots Of Visitors

a close up of a teal claw-shaped flower
FlowerPhotos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
FlowerPhotos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Jade vines are also known as strongylodon macroboyrys and are only found in tropical rainforests in the Philippines. It’s closely related to the bean family, specifically kidney and runner beans. They were first discovered in 1841 by members of the United States Exploring Expedition.

Bats regularly visit jade vines because they pollinate them. The bats will hang upside down on the jade vine and drink its nectar. They’re also visited by some species of wasps and butterflies.

The Juliet Rose Has Color-Changing Petals

a peach rose with lots of petals
Universal Education/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Education/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

No one had even seen a Juliet rose until it debuted at a famous flower show in 2006. The best way to tell a Juliet rose from another species of rose is by the hue of its petals. A Juliet rose has pale peach outer petals and deep peach inner petals.

The creator of this flower spent 15 years and over three million dollars to make sure that it would be perfect. Ombré color patterns are also one of the biggest flower trends at the moment.

White Lotus Flowers Thrive In The Water

a white flower with a green center with yellow spots
Eric Lafforgue/Corbis via Getty Images
Eric Lafforgue/Corbis via Getty Images

Lotus flowers are often referred to as water lilies because they are an aquatic species. Most of the lotus flowers around today originated from seeds that came from a northeastern China lakebed over 1,300 years ago.

Most people who’ve looked at lotus flowers in person have mainly seen pink varieties because the white ones are extremely rare. Those looking for a white lotus should go to India, Sri Lanka, New Guinea, and eastern Australia. It’s also the national flower of India.

Why You Should Be Careful Around A Flame Lily

a red flower with petals that look like flames
Roland Weihrauch/picture alliance via Getty Images
Roland Weihrauch/picture alliance via Getty Images

Flame lilies, also known as gloriosa Superba, are the national flower of Zimbabwe. They are some of the most delicate flowers of all time, but they have a dark side. This flower contains colchicine and other alkaloids that make it dangerously toxic.

It’s poisonous if eaten and can cause skin irritation when touched by the stems or leaves. On the bright side, many areas in India and Africa use parts of the flower for medicine.

The Franklin Tree Flower Has Been Around Since The Colonial Era

a white flower with yellow pollen inside
DeAgostini/Getty Images
DeAgostini/Getty Images

The Franklin tree flower, otherwise known as Franklinia, belongs to the tea plant family and is native to the Altamaha River in Georgia. The dark green leaves that surround the actual flower turn red in the autumn.

It was named after Benjamin Franklin as it was first discovered in 1765. The Franklin tree flower doesn’t exist in the wild anymore but has been replaced with existing plants that descended from the original seeds. It’s likely the extinction was caused by a fungal disease throughout the cotton crops.

Youtan Poluo Is Rarely In Bloom

a tiny white flower on thin stems
Grace Chang/Pinterest
Grace Chang/Pinterest

Youtan poluo only blooms once every three thousand years and is said to be a “reincarnation of the Buddha.” It doesn’t really look like a flower because it’s very tiny and similar to a weed.

This rare flower smells like sandalwood and is found in China, Korea, Taiwan, and in a few areas of the United States. One recent finding of the youtan poluo was by a man in the Jiangxi province who discovered them growing underneath his washing machine.

The Many Alternative Uses For Middlemist Red Flowers

red circular flowering growing on a vine
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Those wanting to see middlemist red flowers, or camellias, in person can only find them in London or New Zealand. This species was brought from China to London in 1804 by botanist John Middlemist.

It was thought to be extinct, but scientists were able to find rare sightings of it in 1999. Humans have used the middlemist red flowers to make tea and as a seasoning for cooking. The oil from the flower is also great for cleaning blades of cutting instruments.

Snowdonia Hawkweed Is Difficult To Find

a yellow flower with petals that look like ribbons
Peak District National Park/Twitter
Peak District National Park/Twitter

Snowdonia hawkweed grows on high cliffs with altitudes that reach about 984 to almost three thousand feet. The flower is very difficult to reproduce because of its uncommon habitat, which puts it on a critically endangered list.

Another reason why the flower is rarely seen is because of the large amount of sheep grazing across the Welsh mountains. Researchers believed that it went extinct in the early 1950s, but it was later rediscovered in the steep slopes of Snowdonia, North Wales.

You Probably Don’t Want To Smell A Corpse Flower

a large yellow, red, orange, and pink flower bursting open
Laurie Dieffembacq/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images
Laurie Dieffembacq/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images

The corpse flower, also known as titan arum or amorphophallus titanum, is one of the largest flowers in the world. Similar to the stinking corpse lily, it is also found in Indonesian rainforests.

It was first discovered by an Italian botanist named Odoardo Beccari in 1878. These massive flowers can reach up to 12 feet in length and they get their name because they smell similar to rotten meat or flesh. Its smell attracts insects who feed on nonliving animals to act as pollinators.

How The Gibraltar Campions Are Prevented From Extinction

gibraltar campion
Mike Powles/Getty Images
Mike Powles/Getty Images

Gibraltar campions, or silene tomentosas, can only be found in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. Their colors range from pink to pale violet and they were thought to be an extinct species.

Luckily, they were rediscovered in 1994 when they were found growing in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. After the discovery, some seeds were taken to the Millennium Seed Bank and Royal Botanic Garden in order for it to be preserved forever. Those who wish to see it in nature can find it along the rock outcrops of the Rock of Gibraltar.

Lady’s Slipper Orchids Look Real Enough To Wear

yellow and maroon flowers in the shape of slippers
Alfred Trunk/McPhoto/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Alfred Trunk/McPhoto/ullstein bild via Getty Images

The lady’s slipper orchid got its name because the flower itself looks very similar to an actual woman’s slipper. The purpose of the pouch is to trap insects, so they are forced to climb up through it to deposit pollen and fertilize the flower.

This unique flower can be found in parts of Europe such as Spain and other areas around Asia. It has been protected by the United Kingdom’s Wildlife and Countryside Act since 1981.

Why The Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid Has So Many Colors

an orchid with dark vertical lines on the petals
Paroli Galperti/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Paroli Galperti/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

One of the most expensive orchids of all time is the Rothschild’s slipper orchid. It is only found on the island of Borneo in Sabah, Malaysia, and takes up to 15 years to grow.

The Rothschild’s slipper orchid’s boldest feature is the dark vertical stripes that curve around the petals. The green and red-spotted petals also attracts parasitic flies, so they can lay their eggs there. The most common time the flower is in full bloom is during the spring months of April and May.

Western Underground Orchids Are Almost Gone

a pink flower with different layers and textures
spiderorchid/Flickr
spiderorchid/Flickr

The western underground orchid is native to western Australia and its name implies that it blooms and lives completely underground. Sadly, this flower is critically endangered and on its way to extinction. There are less than 50 of them alive today.

The first western underground orchid was first discovered in 1928 when a gardener named Jack Trott found one in his wheatbelt. It created so much excitement that a wax model of the flower toured around the British Isles.

Hydrangeas Have Greek And French Roots

blue flowers with white centers
Ernst Haas/Getty Images
Ernst Haas/Getty Images

Even though there are about 75 different species of hydrangeas, they are still considered to be quite rare. Most are native to the Asian countries of Korea, China, and Japan, but some are also found in the United States.

The word “hydrangea” is derived from the Greek language and means “water vessel.” This refers to the shape of its seed capsules. Hydrangeas previously went by the name Hortensia, which comes from the wife of famous French clockmaker Jean-André Lepaute.