Naughty Plants! Creepy, Stinky, Deadly Killer-Plants

Check out some of the plant kingdom's most unusual poisonous, odoriferous, carnivorous plants.
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Photo By: Image courtesy of Frederick Depuydt

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Photo by Danny Flanders

Photo By: Photo by Danny Flanders

Photo By: Photo by Danny Flanders

Photo By: Photo by Danny Flanders

Photo By: Photo by Danny Flanders

Photo By: Image provided by Felder Rushing

Photo By: Photo by Danny Flanders

Photo By: Photo by Danny Flanders

Photo By: Image courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden

Stapelia Lepida

This sinister succulent lives low to the ground where it bides its time until flowering, when the real action starts. Stapelia lepida's starfish-shaped flowers emit the smell of rotting flesh, enticing flies (which pollinate the flower), to lay their larva on its stinky blooms. But it's all a scam: the flies have been lured to the plant mistaking it for rotting meat and their larva will inevitably die without a food source.

Helicodiceros Muscivorus

Also known as the dead horse arum lily, the equine stench of this flower attracts pollinator-flies. Image provided by Frederick Depuydt

Dracunculus Vulgaris

Also known as dragon arum, black arum and voodoo lily, Dracunculus vulgaris features a ruby flower known for emitting a short-lived but pungent scent of rotten meat. Image provided by Pleinair

Monotropa Uniflora

Known as ghost plant, Indian pipe or corpse plant, this herbaceous, parasitic perennial is a real frenemy. It uses the fungi in its roots, which carry sugars from nearby conifers to the ghost plant, since Monotropa uniflora has no chlorophyll to make its own food. No word yet on what the ghost plant offers the fungi, other than proximity to coolness.

Rafflesia arnoldii

Just wow. The very rare Rafflesia arnoldii is known for producing the largest flower on earth. But that's not all my friends. This plant native to the rainforests of Asia (it is one of Indonesia's three national flowers) also produces a distinctive stench likened to decaying flesh, thus its affectionate nickname, the corpse flower.

Physalis Alkekengi

Also known as Chinese lantern, this striking plant—a member of the nightshade family—is part of a unique ritual in Japan where its seeds are used as offerings to guide the souls of the deceased. We love the spooky look of the dried flower which has the appearance of a beating heart trapped within a shell of veins.

Venus Flytrap

Gotcha! The Venus flytrap, or Dionaea muscipula, survives by feeding on flies and other insects. Feed the plant using tweezers to place an insect inside its head trap every 10 days. Ghoulish fun!

Angel's Trumpet

This toxic member of the nightshade family is said to inspire hallucinations and has been used by some native tribes in religious ceremonies. Brugmansia is so poisonous it has been banned in some communities.

Anthurium

Known as the flamingo flower, the pretty foliage of this tropical beauty contains sickness-inducing oxalate crystals. Cue burning, itching and swelling.

Monstera Deliciosa

This poisonous evergreen vine native to tropical regions of the Americas gets its name from the Latin word for "abnormal" or "monstrous." Contact can cause intense burning and pain of the mouth, tongue and throat and the kind of tummy ache that will leave you worshipping the porcelain god. Monstera is sometimes called "Swiss cheese plant" because of the naturally-forming holes in its leaves.

Darlingtonia Californica

Also known as the California pitcher plant, cobra lily or cobra plant, this botanical killer has an arched, snake-like form and projectile, forked tongue-leaf. This extremely rare carnivorous plant is mostly found hanging around in the boggy Pacific Northwest. Its colorful leaves emit a honey smell that drives bugs wild and lures them into its trap. Insects drown in its fluid-filled base where flying midge larva living in the pitcher join in the digestive fun.

Philodendron

A flowering plant within the Arceae family, this tropical beauty harbors nasty toxins called oxalates in its sap, leaves and stems which can induce burning in the mouth, swelling of the tongue, an inability to speak and skin irritation. Though not life-threatening to humans, mice and rats keel over with some regularity when exposed to these oxalates.

English Ivy

This creepy vine likes to wind around anything in its way, strangling the life out of foliage and trees and creating ivy "deserts" where only this pushy vine can thrive. But wait, there's more! English ivy's leaves are so toxic they have been known to cause convulsions, coma, even death.

Clivia Miniata

This African native contains a nasty toxin called lycorine which will knock you upside the head with a host of ill effects if you get a hankering to ingest its lethal blossoms.

Pitcher Plant

It's the natural world version of a slasher film...no, little snail, don't go into that plant! It's hard to think of a worse way to die. Imagine yourself as a helpless creature lured into this botanical serial killer's lair. You slip and slide, falling into the slithery guts of this carnivorous creature and drown in a watery grave.

Bulbophyllum Phalaenopsis

This orchid hailing from New Guinea emits an intoxicating fragrance of dead mice that is like Chanel No. 5 to flies. Its deadly stench lures the hapless bugs to pollinate its rank blooms.

Tacca chantrieri

With a name like Black Bat Flower, the Tacca chantrieri is bound to strike fear when it blooms. Its has a bat-like face that can grow up to 12 inches in diameter with "whiskers" known to extend up to 28 inches long!

Nepenthes rafflesiana

This tropical pitcher plant (Nepenthes rafflesiana) has such a big mouth that it not only traps insects with ease but also serves as a toilet for bat droppings.

Nepenthes Truncata

These tropical pitcher plants (Nepenthes truncata) are commonly called Monkey Cups. Bugs are attracted to their odor and color, and upon landing on the slippery edges of their rims, fall into the traps. 

Habenaria Medusa

This orchid oddity, the rare Habenaria Medusa, produces an alien-looking bloom that can be frighteningly beautiful.

Nepenthes hybrid

This tropical pitcher plant (Nepenthes hybrid) is known for its large mouth and red coloration.

Nepenthese

To help tropical pitcher plants and other carnivorous plants feed better, try refrigerating crickets, bloodworms (available at pet stores), spiders, or flies to slow them down a bit.

Dracula Orchid

The Dracula Orchid consists of 118 species native to Mexico and Central America. It gets its names because of the blood-red color of some of its species and fang-like parts of its flower's face.

Sarracenia 'Boob Tube'

'Boob Tube' Sarracenia is a carnvirous pitcher plant. Insects are attracted to its white spots, fly into the depths of its bloom, and are quickly devoured.

Titan arum

The Titan Arum produces an elegant bud, which can takes weeks to bloom, creating much anticipation and suspense among admirers of this scary looking rare plant. 

Titan Arum

Amorphophallus titanum is known as a carrion flower because of the stench of decomposition that emanates from its depths. Also known as the corpse flower or corpse plant, this Asian looker uses its dead-body perfume to attract flesh eating beetles and flies for pollination-purposes. But get it while you can: the flower only blooms once every four to six years.