Everybody loves Halloween and the scary costumes and stories that appear at this time of year, but did you know that the plant world has plenty of its own scary characters that fit in perfectly with this spine-chilling season? Here are our 10 favourite creepily named plants:
Devil’s Tongue – also known as Voodoo Lily – is doubly gruesome since as well as its name, it is renowned for being one of the smelliest plants on this planet – Phew!
Devil’s Ivy - is actually a very popular and rather attractive houseplant, but, like its namesake, is almost impossible to kill! But, why would you need to kill it we wonder?
Snapdragon – Well the name’s not very scary is it? And again, this is a beautiful plant – but just wait until it dies! Then, you have a thoroughly horrifying pod left behind that looks exactly like a human skull!
Dracula Orchids – These lovely flowers are not named after the evil Count, rather their name translates into “little dragon” reflecting their dragon-like appearance.
Witch Hazel – Bright yellow flowers in autumn make witch hazel a popular choice for gardens, but it’s its anti-inflammatory properties that make this a must have in every bathroom cabinet too.
Ghost Plant – or Monotropa uniflora – is so called because it has no chlorophyll and does not rely on photosynthesis, so it’s a ghostly white flower that hangs like a crowd of little Caspers. Very spooky!
Crocosmia “Lucifer” – with its arching stems dripping with fiery red trumpets is a stunning plant with a rather beautiful name, because lucifer here translates not as the devil, but actually means “Morning Star” or “Shining One”
Zombie Plant – The leaves of this plant droop and fold inwards when touched, as if it’s “playing dead” and return to normal when the perceived danger has passed. Zombie plants are easy to grow indoors and make great gifts for children!
Skeleton Flowers - when it rains its petals turn from opaque white to almost transparent. During this transition, drops of water cling to the plant creating a dewy lattice that looks like the skeleton of a flower. When it stops raining, it reverts back to its original state. Mysterious!
Spider Plant – no Halloween is complete without spiders, and the ubiquitous spider plant has been a student favourite for decades. Very easy to grow and care for, it is effective in removing harmful chemicals from the air, such as carbon monoxide, xylene, formaldehyde and toluene – who would have thought!
But for children who prefer a bit of respite from Halloween the Turrill Garden will be remaining safe this week as we have planted Elder shrubs to keep the witches away –
a bit of country lore that has seen the spread of Elders throughout the land. Though maybe you should steer clear the large head made by one of the students at Radley School!