Plants have been far less studied than animals, and a vast amount of research is still needed to fully understand some of the strange things plants do, like why plants look like people.
- 1. Naked Man Orchid (Orchis Italica)
- 2. Doll Orchid (Habenaria Crinifera)
- 3. Dancing Girls (Impatiens Bequaertii)
- 4. Swaddled Babies (Anguloa Uniflora)
- 5. Chamber Maids (Calceolaria Uniflora)
- 6. Ballerina Orchid (Caladenia Melanema)
- 7. Angel Orchid (Habenaria Grandifloriformis)
- 8. Snapdragon Seedpod (Antirrhinum Majus)
- 9. Hot Lips (Palicourea Elata)
We know that plants, through evolutionary biology, have created mimicry of other plants or animals, even scents. This helps protect them against situations where they may be in danger to their environment. Mimicking poisonous plants may deter herbivores from eating them. Visually mimicry deceptively tricks them into providing a service without reward.
Plants have a unique ability to sense, react, and interact with the world around them. Plants have proven through scientific information and research that they have the same senses as humans and then some. Although they don’t use the senses as we do, they possess senses that help them protect themselves against danger and predators.
- Plants can hear
- They have a sense of gravity
- They can feel obstructions
- They have memory, learn from experiences, and retain the information
- They can sense water
Knowing why plants mimic human shapes and body parts have yet to be fully understood, and this is still a vast field open for study. Some remarkably uncanny plants resemble the human form or features of human physiology, making this both interesting, weird, and comical.
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1. Naked Man Orchid (Orchis Italica)
The naked man orchid is one of those comical and well naughty flowers. They mimic the general shape of a hatted naked man. Under the hat, the face has two eyes and a broad smile.
They were formally found in Italy, hence the second part of the name, but are relatively widespread throughout the Mediterranean basin. They are of the least concern to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) but are on a declining pattern.
The flowers grow in dense clusters on a single thick stem and are found growing wild in abandoned fields. Although orchids grow throughout the year given the right conditions, Orchis italica is mainly seen blooming in April and May from pale to dark pink flowers, with white flowers a rare sight.
2. Doll Orchid (Habenaria Crinifera)
The doll orchid falls under the genus Habenaria and is of 839 species listed. The doll orchid is native to Asia and found in the global mega biodiversity hotspot of the Western Ghats. These delicate flowers are found in terrestrial and rarely epiphytic habitats of moist deciduous to semievergreen forests.
Tuberous orchids with smooth-edged petals with a white lip reaching three times the length of the sepal. The odd formation of the sepals and lip gives this delicate flower the appearance of a doll-like shape.
They bloom in late rains from August to October. Unfortunately, the doll orchid is one of the many species on the threatened list of IUCN due to the excessive collection of specimens for ornamental trade.
3. Dancing Girls (Impatiens Bequaertii)
These tiny flowers resemble little dancing girls in dresses with outstretched arms and fall under the genus Impatiens, of which more than a thousand species are found.
Impatiens bequaertii is native to East Africa and is found in tropical and subtropical lowlands and moist, cool upland slopes in altitudes of 850 to 2300 meters.
Dancing girls will root down anywhere where they touch the soil with white blooms with occasional sightings of pale pink flowers that grow year-round in mild conditions. They are a rare sight and are listed as near threatened on the IUCN and on the decrease due to aggressive agricultural development.
4. Swaddled Babies (Anguloa Uniflora)
The Anguloa genus is one of the largest species of orchids, reaching two feet in height. The genus contains thirteen species, of which 4 are hybrids found in the wild, native to South America. Swaddled babies, species uniflora, resemble the appearance of babies wrapped in a blanket in a crib.
They are also known as tulip orchids. They have a waxy feel to the cream-colored petals, with a distinctive aroma of cinnamon-scented blooms that flower in spring and summer. They are mostly found on forest floors at altitudes of 1400 to 2500 meters but can, on rare occasions, be seen as an epiphyte.
They are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to ensure the plant’s survival in its natural habitat.
5. Chamber Maids (Calceolaria Uniflora)
These cute flowers that have earned the name chamber maids are colorful with compounded colors of yellow, brownish red, and a white tray-like platter. Their stigma and stamen look like two eyes with a hood, and the balloon-like flower gives the appearance of a dress.
They are native to Southern South America in the regions of south Chili and south Argentina, growing in mountainous areas in sandy soil while enjoying temperate conditions.
These plants are pollinated by the least seedsnipe bird that eats the fleshy white part of the flower as it is high in sugar. At the same time, the stigma and stamen release pollen on the bird’s forehead.
6. Ballerina Orchid (Caladenia Melanema)
The Ballerina orchid is a delicate flower with long sepals resembling the elegant legs and arms of a ballerina doing complex ballet moves like pliés. Endemic to the southwest regions of Western Australia, it is a terrestrial perennial herb with underground tubers growing in the white sand clay loam near salt lakes.
According to the Department of Parks and Wildlife, the plant is critically endangered, with only 300 mature plants recorded in 2006.
A rehabilitation plan was set to ensure the survival of the plant. Still, continuous land clearing, overgrazing by kangaroos, and the ground’s increased salinity continue to threaten this plant.
7. Angel Orchid (Habenaria Grandifloriformis)
The Angel orchid is a singular tuber herb growing in soil in high-altitude grasslands, rocky cliff areas, and mountainous peaks. The beautiful white flowers, with bilobed petals resembling wings and a long lip and sepals resembling an angel’s body, continue to fascinate tourists.
Native to the Western Peninsular of India, Habenaria grandifloriformis are found at elevations of 50 to 1400 meters. The flowers only flower for two weeks for pollination at the onset of the monsoon season in June and July.
This is another endangered species listed as near threatened on the IUCN, with a continuous decline in the number of mature plants.
8. Snapdragon Seedpod (Antirrhinum Majus)
The name snapdragon comes from the reaction of the flower to having its throat squeeze. It causes the flower’s mouth opening to snap open.
But when the flowers fade and the seedpod is left behind, it explodes to release the seeds, revealing three little holes that have an eerie macabre resemblance to little skulls, a far cry from the spectacle of colors the blooms offer during the spring-to-fall seasons.
They can be found worldwide making beautiful bedding plants but are native to the Mediterranean regions and often found growing in crevices and walls. The short-lived perennials produce inflorescence blooms clusters on a tall spike with pastel to brightly colored flowers that come in various hues.
9. Hot Lips (Palicourea Elata)
Hot lips don’t resemble people in a complete form. Still, I feel they are worthy of mention for their uncanny resemblance to bright red puckered lips, also known as “girlfriends’ kiss.” The red lips are not actually the flower itself but rather two extravagant leaves. The flower is found between the lips of the leaves.
Native to Central and South America’s rain forests, the Palicourea elata is a susceptible plant to its surroundings and requires a specific climate to thrive.
Unfortunately, due to deforestation and expansive farming, the hot lips find themselves in hot water, joining the list of endangered species as they slowly vanish.