1. Rafflesia arnoldii: this parasitic plant develops the world’s largest bloom that can grow over three feet across. The flower is a vibrant red-pink, with bumpy white spots. It has an offensive odor and has a hole in the center that holds six or seven quarts of water. The plant has no leaves, stems, or roots.
2. Hydnora africana: an unusual melon-colored, parasitic flower that attacks the nearby roots of shrubbery in the arid deserts of South Africa. The putrid-smelling blossom attracts herds of carrion beetles.
3. Dracunculus vulgaris: smells like rotting flesh, and has a burgundy-colored, leaf-like flower that projects a slender, black appendage.
4. Welwitschia mirabilis: consists of only two leaves and a stem with roots. Its two leaves continue to grow until they resemble an alien life form. The stem gets thicker rather than higher, although this plant can grow to be almost six feet high and twenty-four feet wide. Its estimated lifespan is 400 to 1500 years. Mirabilis grows in Namibia, and is thought to be a relic of the Jurassic period.
5. Drakaea glyptodon: an orchid. It is the color of, and smells like, raw meat. Pollinated by male wasps.
6. Wolffia angusta: the world’s smallest flower. A dozen plants would easily fit on the head of a pin and two plants in full bloom will fit inside a small printed letter “o.