10 Funny and Strange Plant Names

Have you ever heard of Monkey Puzzle Tree or a Sneezewort?

Well, we have a whole list of weird plant names, along with the inside scoop on how they ended up with their funny names!

We’re all guilty of being enthralled by something weird and wonderful and who can blame us? Well, here are the top 10 funny and strange plant names you’re guaranteed to be interested in!

1. Sneezewort Yarrow, AKA Sneezewort

This plant originally got this name because it was used as sneezing powder. The flower would be dried up and used to help clear out people’s sinuses by making them sneeze. Clearly, times have changed a little.

Interestingly, these plants can be used for more than just sneezing – they can also be eaten in salads and used as insect repellents. Multifunctional!

2. Hooded Skullcap, AKA Marsh Skullcap

These plants found their name simply because their flowers look like caps.

Believe it or not, this plant is actually part of the mint family – although it doesn’t taste anything like mint so we’d avoid giving it a taste. Another of its plant relatives, Mad-Dog weed, is famous too and was used during medieval times as a medicinal remedy for rabid-dog bites.

3. Turkey Corn, AKA Fringed Bleeding Heart

This is actually the most heat tolerant plant in the Dicentra family and therefore will continue to grow throughout the summer, no matter the heat, as long as the soil doesn’t completely dry out.

4. Butter and Eggs, AKA Yellow Toadflax/ Brideweed

This plant was originally awarded this strange name because its flower looks like an egg yolk.

However, according to ancient myths, it began its life as a yellow dragon that transformed and sadly choked on a fried egg. A little out there we agree, but an interesting backstory nonetheless.

5. Hens and Chicks, AKA House Leeks

Growing in a large cluster – known as the “hen” – which is surrounded by a number of smaller patches – known as the “chicks” – this plant has a mystical history and story.

Hen and Chicks was originally planted on the roofs of houses as protection against thunder and lightning because they have always been linked to Thor and Zeus; the two mythical gods of lightning.

6. Lambsquarters, AKA Fat Hen, White Goosefoot

These plants were given this name after Lammas Quarter: a harvest festival held on August 1st in the 9th Century in England where this plant was eaten. However, it’s also adopted the name Goosefoot because its leave looks like exactly that.

Interestingly, this plant can produce 75,000 seeds and has the ability to grow no matter the type of soil it is in. It is actually very healthy for humans to eat and contains more vitamins and minerals than many vegetables, including spinach, lettuce and cabbage.

image: courses.missouristate.edu

image: courses.missouristate.edu

7. Euphorbia Obesa, AKA The Baseball Plant

This plant is often found in the Great Karoo in South Africa and is harvested due to its strange appearance. However, of late it’s become endangered in its native habitat which has led to it becoming increasingly common in cultivation. This means that the plants being traded and sold among plant collectors are now those found in the wild.

8. Skunk Cabbage

The Skunk Cabbage is a huge, foul smelling plant that’s found in North America. Often found in swamps, its odour is often mistaken for a skunk, hence the name. Its appearance is also something to behold, with golden or purple leaves.

While certain parts of the plant were found to be edible by Native Americans, death can be caused from severe calcium oxalate poisoning if the wrong part is eaten.

9. Himalayan Blackberry

This plant is one you don’t want to get in a tangle with as it’s covered with a number of treacherous thorns. Unlike normal blackberries found in the UK, each stalk is 2 inches wide and covered with long thick thorns that extend like sharks teeth.

Known for causing serious injuries to veins leading to a great deal of blood loss, a tangle with this plant could land you in A&E.

10. Rafflesia keithii, AKA Corpse Flower

We couldn’t have a list of 10 strange named plants without including the Corpse Flower. Only found in the rainforests of Indonesia, the Corpse Flower is a parasitic organism without visible leaves, stems or roots. In addition, this flower is actually the largest individual flower in the world. Still wondering why it’s called the Corpse Flower? That’ll be the scent…it’s deadly!

Now that you know some of the strangest names for plants around the world, it’s time for you to get your green fingers out and see if you can come up with a stranger name.

Pick one of our lovely plants and see what name you can give it!

Author: Lily Calyx

Flower expert, gardening enthusiast and creative mind behind our blog.

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