Fun plant facts

My school is located in the forest and this year our yearbook’s theme is plants and growth. Scattered throughout the book will be cool, fascinating, inspiring, or even funny plant facts.
I would love to gather from the collective knowledge of people on this forum! What are some fun plant facts you know?

3 Likes - hearing plants


The seed dispersal mechanism of the genus Erodium (stork’s bill plants). Their name comes from the strange shape of the fruit that resembles a bird’s beak. As it ripes, it becomes dehydrated and eventually explodes from the pressure. The seeds fly out, each one equipped with awns - appendages shaped like a spiral. The awn coils under dehydration and uncoils when it’s wet. By changing its shape according to the moisture, the seed drills itself into the ground!
If you want to see real footage of that, check out the Wikipedia page for Erodium cicutarium and there are two videos. Really fascinating!


The shape of this bird orchid (Pterostylis barbata). Only a few cm long.

More on orchids: Many WA orchids like this dragon orchid (below) trick male thynnid wasps into pollinating them with various forms of deception.


It is truly fascinating to watch that happen. Just add water.
Many iNat obs - what is this - for pelargonium family seeds.

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depending on your local fire regime.
Our fynbos needs fire to regenerate, but shrubby plants need enough years in between to set seeds.
Protea nitida for example.
And the fire asparagus which blooms within 6 weeks to feed wild bees.

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Here’s another bird-shaped flower! Impatiens psittacina “parrot flower” is a very rare species of plant known from Southeast Asia, and it only has two observations on iNaturalist. According to Wikipedia, the fruit does not explode like in other members of the genus. But there isn’t much info on the plant other than that.


Here’s one I like:

Yarrow is well-known for its ability to quickly and effectively staunch bleeding from wounds. Its genus name, Achillea, refers to its connection to Achilles; it is said that Achilles used this plant to treat his men’s wounds.

It is also antibacterial, and has a host of other medicinal properties. Amazing how such a humble plant can provide so much.


A lot of plants in North and South America are ‘ghost plants’ (don’t know the commonly used term). Most of the megafauna here, like the giant ground sloths, mammoths/mastodons, Glyptotherium, went extinct by about 12,000 years ago.

Scientists are concluding that a lot of plants depended on these animals to spread their seeds (generally by eating the them, and passing them out in their poop.) So you get trees and shrubs with huge fruits & seeds, and no way for their seeds to spread. Examples are Kentucky coffee tree, osage orange, and avocado.

It blew my mind when I first read about this, that the effects of the Pleistocene extinction event are still playing out.

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At least some mosses may produce scented “flowers” to attract “pollinators”:


Acacia plants are pretty imazing in many regards.

Some species deliberately produce food for Ants (Beltian Bodies) on their leafs and the ants will defent their Acacia against insects that would harm the plant … even more fascinating: a spider intervented in this kind of symbiosis and feeds on those bodies as well… the only knwown spider eating mostly plant material ( Bagheera kiplingi)

Acacia trees in Africa are known since quite a while to warn each other if herbivores are around. They are then able to increase the amount of some toxines in their leafs, so that the herbivores wont feed on them.

I was always fascinated by Mimosa plants, that can visibly react to touch by quickly shutting down their leafs.

Of course there is the whole story about insect eating plants that are able to survive in nutrient poor surroundings (e.g. Bogs or up in trees without contact to the ground) by catching an insect every now and then an digesting it.

Talking about plants in trees… amazing strategy to get closer to one of the most importante resources for plants - light. However, they have to have strategies to get the other resources they need like minerals and water. Some solve this problem by taping into the vascular system of its host plant (= parasite, e.g. mistletoe). Others like Bromeliaceae are able to absorb water through special kinds of leafs.

Aaaah, and talking about parasites… even more fascinating: Despite one of the recognizable characteristics of plants is beeing green at least in parts (= having chloroplast to be able to do photosynthesis and produce their own organic matter), some plants are not green (= not doing photosynthesis). They live solely on using the resources other plants produce. A comon one are Neottia … sorry, dont know the english name, but they can commonly be observed in Middle Europ in spring.

There are also plants living in symbiosis with fungi, calle Mykorrhiza. The fungi increase the ability of the plant to get water or certain minerals and the plant provides the fungi with nutrients. Win-win.

It´s also always fun to research superlatives, like for example here:

And at last; one plant to look up, as it hold superlatives and is a parsite an kind of disgusting all in one: Rafflesia arnoldii


Just read that you are based in Germany. Mykorrhiza (Symbiosis) and Parasitism (Misteln and Nestwurzen (Neottia)) are for sure interesting as it should be observable around you :-) and “Fleischfressene Pflanzen” can also be found in the swamps and marshes in the Northe and South of the country regularly

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School kids might be interested in Corpse Flowers that smell like rotting flesh when they bloom to attract scavenger insects for pollination:,


Western Australian orchids including the ones above do this (although with various different fungi). There are also a few species that are completely reliant on there fungal partner.


The Private Life of Plants, a book and a six part miniseries with David Attenborough should have plenty of interesting stuff on plants.

They’re also awful in pet fur.

There are some species of Puccinia (rust fungi) that infect the plant and create pseudoflowers to spread its own spores. They actually produce a scent and sort of nectar for the insects.


As this person is based in the Black Forest, I think it would be neat to have mostly plant lore relevant to that ecosystem. There should be plenty, given that it is the land of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

For instance, Rapunzel is the name for Campanula rapunculus, an edible wildflower which the mother in the tale craved during her pregnancy. Rapunculus is the diminutive of rapa, meaning turnip, in reference to the appearance of the root which Rapunzel’s mother craved.


Skunk Cabbage (found in Germany too!) can produce its own heat, which is how they can bloom even with snow on the ground.


There’s a plant called that is able to do mimic the leaves of other plants! Boquila trifoliolata is a vine, native to South America, and depending on what plant it climbs, it will grow leaves that are similar in shape, size, and color to that plant. It can mimic several different plant species, as well. It’s not quite clear how the plant does this.