Flower Photography: 50 Unique Flowers That They Forgot How To Be Flowers

Flower Photography: 50 Unique Flowers That They Forgot How To Be Flowers

I thought they had to be photoshopped. But alas, they are all very real! These are truly beautiful to behold.

There are flowers that they forgot to be flowers. Come across flowers that look like something else all together.There are many more such plants with oddly shaped. Some look like Dancing Girls, while others look like Laughing Bumble Bees. Some flowers bear resemblance to smiling (and probably loopy) Happy Aliens, while another may look freakishly like the Darth Vader. All in all, Mother Nature has shown some remarkable creativity with her beautiful and strange flowers. Here are some collection of the most unusual and rare flowers you can find in the world that with beauty at its best.

1. Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis) plant                  Location: Balkans, Greece and Iran  

The Moth Orchid is one of the most common Orchids that look like animals. They look like moths in flight, while also looking like a bird head from up close. Many people believe that the bird head is there to protect the nectar from certain insects. Many people don’t notice that it looks like a bird head until they see pictures of the flower close-up.     


2. Plumed Bird Orchid    

The Bird Orchid is the most common and is distinctive for its translucent flower with dark green reticulate (netted) markings and a sparsely-fringed labellum.  

Pterostylis barbata is the variety of Bird Orchid found in the Perth region. It is found between Perth and Albany and out to the edge of the wheatbelt.  The Dwarf Bird Orchid is similar to the Bird Orchid (Pterostylis barbata) and is distinguished by its smaller flowers, very short point on the dorsal sepal. It is found throughout the wheatbelt.    

Other bird orchids:   




3. Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera)                                                                          Location: Europe  

This is one of the ugliest looking Orchids that look like animals in my opinion! They are designed to look like a female fly and, much like the Bee Orchid, attract the male equivalent. The male bumps into the flower and gets dusted with pollen to bring to the next Fly Orchid. The flower is also scented to mimic the scent of the female fly’s sexual pheromones. These grow best in alkaline soil and need cooler climates to survive. The flowers blend in so well that they are barely noticeable when this Orchid is growing in the wild.      

4. Ballerina Orchid    

These small plants are terrestrial spider orchids that grow singly or in groups in different parts across the island of Australia. The flowers are essentially cream in colour, with maroon markings, and their petals and sepals have dark trichromes. Together, the flower looks like a maiden in white tutus, holding a graceful ballet pose. The grazing of rabbits and kangaroos in the regions where they grow pose great threat to these orchids.      

Bulbophyllum kalimpong — a trully spectacular orchid from India. Looks like a dancing ballerina.

5. Monkey Face Orchid (Dracula Simia)  

Monkey Orchids are native to the mountains of Ecuador. They are accustomed to cooler temperatures and enjoy larger amounts of humidity. There are over 120 species of Monkey Orchids, all found in this same mountainous region. They display 1 flower per stem that most people agree look like monkeys. These Orchids that look like monkeys can flower at any time during the year.  (orchidsplus.com)      

6. Parrot Orchid ( Impatiens Psittacina)     

The Impatiens Psittacina is an amazing plant of the balsam family. The flowers are purple and carmine red in colour. When viewed from the sides, the flowers seemingly resemble a parrot in flight. British botanist and explorer, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, first noted, in a scientific description of the plant in 1901, how its bloom looks like a ‘flying cockatoo’ and from then on, the name has stuck. This rare plant is found in Thailand, Burma and parts of India.

7. Naked Man Orchid (Orchis Italica)  

The Orchis italica is often referred to as the Italian orchid, owing to its Mediterranean region where it generally grows in large numbers. But, more commonly, it is known as the naked man orchid. This is because, the amazing flowers of the orchid have petals that look like naked men. The flowers are a combination of bright pink and white in colour, and they are all clustered densely. These strangely shaped flowers make the plant quite popular.    


8. Swaddled Babies (Anguloa uniflora)

These tulip orchids, nicknamed Swaddled Babies, were discovered in the Colombian Andes between 1777-1788 during a ten year expedition, but weren’t named and officially classified until 1798. During certain times of the plant’s blooming stage, the flowers’ unique shapes resembles that of a baby all wrapped up in white swaddling. Their tempting scent attracts insects to the hinged lip of the petal where the unsuspecting creatures are shoved into the column, where a pack of pollen then attaches itself to their abdomens, increasing pollination.    [​IMG]

9. Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana major ) , Australia 

This is one of the most unique flowers in the world because of the flower it produces. The blossom looks like a duck flying through the air on a green spike. Each spike grows 2-4 flowers and the whole Orchid can grow up to 5 inches across. The unique shape attracts insects to pollinate the flower. These flowers are extremely small and not very noticeable when they are growing in the wild.      

10. Donkey Orchids  (Diuris Corymbosa) , Western Australia and Tasman

The Donkey Orchid gets its name from the 2 lateral petals that protrude from the flower, giving it the appearance of a donkey. Of all the Orchids that look like animals, this one is the easiest to pick out of the forest because of its larger size. They are native to Australia and Tasmania, which provide the warm climates necessary to live. Donkey Orchids attract local bees by mimicking other local flowers and tricking the bees into pollinating the flowers.    


11. Nanny Goat Orchid (Ophrys reinholdii)  Location:  Balkans, Greece, and Iran  

This Orchid grows at low elevations and needs cool temperatures mixed into its growing cycle. They bloom in the spring and produce a flower that many people believe looks like a goat. The small stems that protrude from the top of the flower are said to look like goal horns, influencing the nickname.    

12. Darth Vader (Aristolochia Salvadorensis)   

Scientific Name – Aristolochia Salvadorensis; Location –Widespread across diverse climates

Aristolochia is a large plant genus with over 500 species that is the namesake (type genus) of the family (Aristolochiaceae). Its members are commonly known as birthwort, pipevine or Dutchman’s pipe and are widespread and occur in the most diverse climates. Some species, like A. utriformis and A. westlandii, are threatened with extinction.      3


14. Snap Dragon Seed Pod (Antirrhinum)  

This wide spread flower native to rocky areas of North America, USA and Europe. They like well drained soil and direct or partial light and require regular watering. What is on the picture is flower after the bloom has fallen, this is the semen bag.    Snapdragon and its skull: The Antirrhinum, found in the rocky areas Europe, America and North Africa, has an interesting flower called the dragon flower or snapdragon. The beautiful flower petals give the impression of the face of a dragon, which, when squeezed, will open and close like the mouth. But, once the petals wither and fall off, only the seed pod is left behind, presenting quite a macabre look, because the seed pod looks like a skull. Ancient cultures believed snapdragons to have supernatural powers.

Snapdragon and its Skull

16. Angel Orchid (Habenaria Grandifloriformis)    

Native to the open high altitude grasslands of southern India, the Angel orchid – Habenaria Grandifloriformisis one of the gems of the orchid world. First described in 1932 by the scientists Blatt and McCann, it is a small terrestrial herb, growing to about 5 inches high. During the growing season it usually produces just a single, heart shaped and rounded leaf which lies flat on the ground.

The exquisite flowers are white in 1-5 bundles with bilobed petals and if you look closely enough bare a striking resemblance to a cloaked angel! The flowers, which are mildly fragrant, are produced June to July and is one of the first orchids to flower at the the onset of monsoons.

The Angel orchid is rarely seen in cultivation, but as a rule they are best grown in deep pots in a well drainedmedium consisting of 50% river sand, 40% leaf mulch and 10% vermiculite. Plant the tubers at about 4 inches deepand keep in a temperate environment with 50-70% shading and excellent ventilation.      12 

17. Alien Orchid (Dendrobium spectabile )

Whatever you think, Dendrobium spectabile (Alien Orchid) is no extraterrestrial and no alien in ‘plant form’ waiting to take over earth. It’s ugly as hell, but Dendrobium spectabile is a warm growing species native to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.    

18. Alien Orchid (Paphiopedilum venustum)  

Seedling orchid lady slipper tropical plant . It is a species of orchid ranging from eastern Nepal to northeastern Bangladesh.  A medium sized, late winter and spring bloomer on an erect, terminal, 5″ (12 cm) long,  deep purple, pubescent inflorescence with a elliptic-lanceolate floral bract carrying a solitary flower from Assam India, Northeastern Bangladesh, the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan, Nepal and Yunnan China at elevations of 1000 to 15000 meters at the base of cliffs in humus or in dense undergrowth or bamboo thickets often near streams, as well as in the crotch of trees with leaf deitrius that grows as a cold to warm, shade loving terrestrial with narrowly elliptic, mottled bluish and lighter green leaves that are purple beneath which needs humid, well watered conditions year round.   

Paph Vinicolor Alien Orchid (cypripedium alliance paphiopedilum). This orchid is a hybrid: Paphiopedilum Hsinying Alien x Paphiopedilum Sue Franz.

alien bloom 

19. An orchid with an alien face – Singapore Garden Festival 

20. Happy Alien (Calceolaria Uniflora)  

The Happy Alien plant – Calceolaria uniflora is a bizarre looking species of evergreen, perennial plant from Tierra del Fuego in the southern region of South America. Also known as Darwin’s Slipper Flower (‘slipper flower’ is a generic common name for all species within the Calceolaria genus), Calceolaria uniflora was first discovered by Charles Darwin during his expedition around South America – the Voyage of the Beagle, 1831–1836. In fact this species was originally named Calceolaria darwinii but has now been superseded.

Situated close to the south pole, Calceolaria uniflora is a cold-climate mountain species found in very exposed, well-drained sites. Its normal habitats are coastal and riverine sands and rocks, clearings in scrubland, peaty alpine fescue moorland, feldmark, clifftops and steppe.

Like other true alpine plants, Calceolaria uniflora have a shallow root system and grow tight to the ground reaching no more than 4-5 inches tall.

The pouch-like blooms are about 2 inches long, and appear throughout the summer suspended from tall slender stems that rise from a rosette of small, tongue-shaped leaves.     

21. Hookers Lips Orchid  (Psychotris Elata)  

This South American beauty is indeed a tree found in Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica. This ΓÇ£temptingΓÇ¥ lips are the bracts of the flower, they remain in this condition for very short period because they need to open so the flower can come out.    


22. Fairy Slipper (Calypso bulbosa), growing along the Thunder Creek trail in North Cascades National Park. 

Calypso Orchid – These plants sometimes pop up as singles, but often in large groups.

This genus Calypso has many names associated with its beauty, lip shape and local distribution. Calypso, the sea nymph, was the beautiful daughter of the Titan, Atlas. In the Odyssey, Calypso used her beauty to keep shipwrecked Ulysses captive for seven years on her island of Ogygia. Calypso bulbosa has a saccate shaped lip that is flattened in the front. This shape resembles the look of a small shoe and the common name Fairy Slipper. Calypso bulbosa has a wide spread distribution but is considered to have a local distribution within its range. Calypso bulbosa is slightly harder to find, giving it the common name Hider-of-the-North. Calypso, the sea nymph, was also called ‘she that conceals’ or ‘the concealer’. The Greek word Calypso means covered or hidden from view. With its beautiful pink colors and its vanilla scent, in my opinion, this orchid is the most beautiful orchid in North America.

Each plant has a single, dark green, oval leaf measuring up to 3.5 centimetres long . Both the single leaf and flower stem rise from a shallow corm, with few, short and slender roots . On blooming plants it is sometimes possible to see the top of the corm . The species name bulbosa refers to the bulb-like nature of the corms , while Caplypso comes from the name of the sea nymph in Homer’s Odyssey. Four varieties of the fairy slipper orchid are recognised, each differing slightly in their appearance.     

23. Yellow Lady’s Slipper, Cypripedium parviflorum (also known asCyp. calceolus)   

The scientific name Cypripedium refers to the island of Cyprus, the birthplace of the Goddess of Love. The Yellow Ladyslipper is common in Banff, Yoho and Jasper National Parks.   

24. Sparrow’s Egg Lady’s Slipper, Cypripedium passerinum     

Sparrow’s-egg lady’s-slipper is known from over a dozen moderate to large-sized populations, a few dozen small occurrences and one historical location. Several of the occurrences are either in designated wilderness areas or in Glacier National Park. The main threat to populations appears to be from potential hydrologic changes.

Sparrow’s-egg Lady’s-slipper is a perennial with leafy stems reaching up to 35 cm high and arising from slender, creeping rhizomes. The 3-5 broadly lance-shaped leaves reach up to 15 cm long and clasp the stem; the herbage is covered with long, soft hairs and is usually somewhat sticky. The one or two flowers are subtended by a leafy bract which is longer than the inflorescence. The sepals are green and 10-16 mm long, and the upper is longer than the lower two. The petals are white; the lower is pouch-like with purple spots on the inside, and the other two resemble the sepals but are shorter. The erect capsule is ovoid and bears thousands of tiny seeds.    

26. Dancing Lady Orchid (Oncidium ampliatum)   

This hot growing epiphyte found in the hot lowland from Guatemala to Peru and Trinidad. The plant is characterized by the large, oval, ridged, compressed, dark green mottled purple-brown psuedobulbs, that look like “turtles”. Blooms in the fall through the spring with a large, erect or arching, to 4′  long, many flowered inflorescence.

27. Butterflies Dancing Lady Orchid (Psychopsis)   

The Butterfly orchid (Oncidium Papilio) is a unique and fanciful orchid with attractive foliage and blooms atop very tall spikes that look like butterflies dancing in the breeze. Blooms are born sequentially on the same spike for many months. Psychopsis are relatively easy to grow in the home and seem to tolerate a range of light conditions quite well. They can be fussy about repotting yet don’t like to grow in broken down or sour mix either. Repot only as new growths appear.

 28. Dancing Girls (Impatiens Bequaertii)   Location: East Africa   

The little white ballerinas are the half inch long blooms of rare species from the rainforests of east Africa. If you want to take these home you need moist (humidity should be over 40-50%), well-drained soil, filtered light and very high temperature.     

29. Small Round-Leaf Orchis (amerorchis rotundifolia) 

Common on the large peatlands of northwest and north-central Minnesota it is also a denizen of dark coniferous bogs of the NE. In some references, this species goes by synonym Galearis rotundifolia.

A slender smooth raceme of 4 to 18 irregular flowers each ½ to ¾ inch wide and high, on the ends of ½ inch green ovaries with a single bract up to ¾ inch long. The upper lip is a pinkish hood. The lower lip is white with purple spots and 3-lobed, with the middle lobe largest and notched at the tip. 2 petal-like white sepals spread out at the sides with a third over the hood. A curving spur hangs down at the back. A very cheerful and merry clown-like flower with a pink hood, white drapped side arms and purple polka-dot pantaloons on.     

 30. Laughing Bumble Bee Orchid (Ophrys bomybliflora)  

This Orchid is extremely deceptive in the way it pollinates itself. It is designed to look and smell like a female bee, which attracts the male bees to come over and get covered in pollen. The bee then moves onto the next fake bee, transferring the pollen. Orchid Bee spikes produce 1-12 flowers between April and July. They are plentiful in dry areas of Europe and spread rapidly, but don’t always appear every year. In the wild, it has been observed that they tend to bloom one year and then stay dormant for many years before blooming again.  


31. Bumblebee Orchid (Ophrys bombyliflora)   

Ophrys bombyliflora, the bumblebee orchid, is a species of Ophrys (bee orchid), native from the Mediterranean region from Portugal and the Canary Islands to Turkey andLebanon. The genus name Ophrys is from the Greek in reference to the hairy lips of the flowers of this genus; the specific epithet bombyliflora is from the Greek bombylios(bumblebee) in reference to the appearance of the flowers of this species.

Ophrys bombyliflora is pollinated by males of solitary bees of the genus Eucera (which are not bumblebees). As with other species of Ophrys, the flowers mimic the females in appearance and scent. Earlier-emerging males attempt to mate with the flowers (“pseudocopulation“), collecting pollinia in the process which they transfer to other flowers of the same species.   (wikipedia)     

32. Mirror Bee Orchid  (Ophrys speculum) which attracts scolid wasps. 

Ophyrys insectifera (fly orchid), which deceives male digger wasps.

Natural selection has molded the flowers of these orchids (many in the genus Ophyrys) into mimics of the insects that pollinate them. Horny male insects, thinking that the petals are a female, land on them and engage in fruitless attempts to copulate (“pseudocopulation”). During the barren act, the insects’ heads or bodies contact the orchids’ pollen sacs, which break off and attach to the insect. The frustrated insect flies off, but soon tries to copulate with another orchid, which puts the hitchhiking pollen in contact with the new orchid’s stigma. In such a way the bees/wasps serve as “flying penises,” helping the orchids have sex.  

This tiny Australian terrestrial mimics a female wasp (although it looks for like an ant) . By adopting the “female mimic” strategy, the orchid sacrifices half its potential pollinators (the female bees/wasps), but there’s no obvious way to attract a coy female insect.     

 33. Pink Orchid Mantis or Walking Flower Mantis  (Hymenopus coronatus)   

Hymenopus coronatus, also called H. bicornis, is a mantis from the rain forests of Southeast Asia like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is known by various common names including walking flower mantisand (pink) orchid mantis. It is one of several species known as flower mantises from their resemblance and behaviour.

This species is characterized by brilliant coloring and a structure finely adapted for camouflage, mimicking parts of the orchid flower. The four walking legs resemble flower petals, the toothed front pair being used as in other mantises for grasping prey.   

34. White Egret Orchid (Habenaria Radiata)   

These Orchids are one of the most iconic Orchids that look like animals, yet one of the most endangered. They grow between 1-8 flowers that can reach a little more than an inch wide. White Egret Orchids are one of the showiest flowers on earth.

White Egret Orchids are extremely easy to propagate and are one of the only Orchid species that prefer full sun. They need a bog-like environment and a dormant winter period in order to survive. (orchidsplus.com)

35. Dove Orchid (Peisteria elata)   

Peristeria is an orchid that is commonly found to grow across much of South America, along with Panama, Trinidad and Costa Rica. These Orchids sport a flower that looks like they have a hand-carved dove sitting in the middle. At first glance, most people see these and think that they are carved into the flower and do not believe they are real. The white flower is produced at the base of the plant, with each psuedobulb producing 4 – 12 flowers. Dove Orchids are in great danger of becoming extinct due to poachers collecting them and selling them for profit. They are protected under the laws that cover endangered species and are currently the national flower of the Republic of Panama.        [​IMG]

36. Owl Orchid     


37. Scorpion Orchid  (Arachnis orchids)    

The plot entwines four young men of differing ethnic make-up: Santinathan is a Tamil, Guan Kheng a Chinese, Sabran a Malayand Peter D’Almeida a Eurasian. The four of them were former schoolmates and now attends the Singapore university, all in their third year. The story follows them as they become embroiled with the racial riots in Singapore during the 1950s. A distinctive feature of Scorpion Orchid lies in fourteen italicized passages of varying length, drawn from traditional Malayan texts and interwoven into the narrative.     


38. Miltonia Butterfly Orchid     

The Miltonia orchids are intermediate climate orchids. These orchids
are found in its natural habitat in places like Brazil and to a lesser
extent in Columbia and Ecuador as well where the
Miltoniopsis orchid tends to thrive since they are slightly cooler-growing orchids.     

 39. Butterfly Orchid (Psychopsis papilio)   

Psychopsis papilio or butterfly orchid has very large and spectacular flowers with antenna-like sepals and petals. This orchid is suitable for the conservatory or houseplant and is moderately difficult to grow, more difficult to flourish. Often, the old name Oncidium papilio is still used.

This epiphyt is widespread in relatively high, dense forests at 400-1,200 m altitude, but is quite rare in drier forests along the lower coast, originated from Trinidad, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.     

40. Tiger or Leopard Orchid    

African Ansellia or Leopard Orchid (Ansellia africana) growing on top of dead tree trunk, Kafue National Park, Zambia    

This sample of the Vanda Miss Joachim orchid in the Singapore Botanic gardens looked a bit like a roaring lion.

41. Tiger Orchid 


 42. Flying Bat Orchid    

The Extravagant Black Bat flower The unusual Black Bat flower, Tacca chantrieri (Dioscoreales – Dioscoreaceae), is quite distinctive by the strange, unique, near black flowers. The flowers, which can grow up to 25 cm long, have four large, dark-purple bracts and long bracteoles, giving the inflorescence a striking appearance that superficially resemble a flying bat, a sinister face, or a mean tiger with whiskers. Tacca chantrieri is an endangered species that occurs in tropical …


After a few days, the Bat Lily’s bud will slowly unfurl and lily-like tendrils can be seen spilling from the bud’s edges.     

43. The Jeweled Carpet Flower   

 44. Heirloom Morning Glory Bud  

A wonderful blend of I. purpurea, tricolor and nil colors offered in volume packaging to cover a large fence or other area. Majestic, trumpet shaped flowers of this long time garden favorite vary in shades of deep purple, rose, mauve, violet, and lavender with white or pale pink throats. The vines entwine themselves around available structures, and climb to heights of eight feet! A favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies, makes a perfect cover for eyesore structures and brush piles.


45. Crab Claws, Hanging Lobster Claw (Heliconia rostrata)   

Heliconia rostrata is an herbaceous perennial native to Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador, and naturalized in Puerto Rico. Other Heliconias grow in the upright position, their cup-shaped flower bracts storing water for birds and insects.     19. Hanging Lobster Claw Ginger

46.  The Flame Lily  (Gloriosa superba) 

Flame lily is a tuberous herb, which is widespread in tropical and southern Africa and in tropical Asia. The generic name Gloriosa means ‘full of glory’ and the specific epithet superba means ‘superb’, alluding to the striking red and yellow flowers.

All parts of the plant, but especially the tubers (swollen, underground stems), are extremely poisonous and the ingestion of flame lily has caused many accidental deaths. It has also been used to commit murder, suicide, to induce abortions and to poison dogs. African porcupines and some moles are reputed to be able to consume the roots with no ill effects.

Flame lily is a climber with spectacular red and yellow flowers, but all parts of the plant (especially the tubers) are extremely poisonous and can be fatal if eaten.   

47. The Ice Cream Tulip   

Tulip Ice Cream is a blue ribbon winner in any garden display and an exotic-looking variety that you’ll enjoy for many years. This bulb is unique and not readily found in markets. Plant in a high traffic area to enjoy as often as possible. Blooms late spring.


48. The Bird of Paradise  (Strelitzia)  

Strelitzia  is a genus of five species of perennial plants, native to South Africa. It belongs to the plant family Strelitziaceae. The genus is named after the duchy ofMecklenburg-Strelitz, birthplace of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom. A common name of the genus is bird of paradise flower / plant, because of a resemblance of its flowers to birds-of-paradise. In South Africa it is commonly known as a crane flower and is featured on the reverse of the 50 cent coin. It is the floral emblem of the City of Los Angeles; two of the species, Strelitzia nicolai and Strelitzia reginae, are frequently grown as house plants. (wikipedia)   


49. Aroid Devil’s Tongue Voodoo Lily Amorphophallus konjac

Amorphophallus konjac receives one of its common names, “Snake Plant”, from the pattern on its petiole (stem).  This unusual aroid is grown in many Eastern Asian countries as a food crop and is extremely popular in Japan as a supplement in soups and stews.

Amorphophallus konjac is found in nature from China and Vietnam and  has been grown as a crop in southern China since the Tang Dynasty (AD 608-907. In China and Japan, Amorphophallus konjac is cultivated as a source offlour and other uses, often as a source of food.  To prepare it for cooking it is reduced to a block with a gelatin appearance and sold like tofu in many stores.  Purportedly it will help clean toxins from the body.  Studies have indicated the plant is useful in weight control as well as having medicinal properties for the control of constipation , high blood pressure, hypoglycemia and other conditions. 







50. Aristolochia grandiflora (Calico Flower, Pelican Flower)
This plant is cited in Flora Brasiliensis by Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius. A. giganteaand other tropical Dutchman’s Pipe varieties pose a threat to the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly. The butterfly confuses A. gigantea with its native host plant and will lay eggs on it although Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars cannot survive on the foliage.
Aristolochia grandiflora, the pelican flower, is a deciduous vine with one of the world’s largest flowers that emits an odor that smells like rotting meat, attracting flies. (Wikipedia)






What are your thoughts?