30+ Peculiar Plants Identified With The Help Of A Dedicated Online Community

By Aakash M

Our planet is full of beautiful flora and fauna, much of which still remains a mystery. To be precise, 86% of Earth’s species are still unknown, and around one-fifth of plants have yet to be discovered. But let’s work with the ones we already know; just because humans have seen them doesn’t mean they’re any less interesting. In fact, many people struggle to identify what’s in their own backyard.

That’s why the Reddit community r/whatsthisplant was created — to help confused nature-lovers figure out just what the heck they’re looking at. Redditors from all over the world have taken to the site to post their otherworldy finds. Some look like they came straight from Pandora, while others feel man-made. We’ve collected some of our favorites to share with you today. Although, after looking through them, we can’t help but wonder how unique the undiscovered plant species are!

From the Sunshine State

We do know something about this plant — it was spotted in Florida. That’s not really a surprise since the state is in the sub-tropics, a region that’s often home to interesting plants and animals. Believe it or not, the pattern you see in this image is completely natural.

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It might look like somebody clipped them as part of their hobby or school art project, but that’s not the case. These leaves actually grow that way. The leaves belong to a hardy tapioca plant, though this one is more stunning than the other varieties’ fronds.


We have yet to confirm the planet on which this photo was taken, but based on the skies, the house, and the car, we’d say it’s Earth. To be precise, we’d say it’s a photo of Earth taken from the future, where our planet is recovering after it was hit with a deadly alien virus.

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At least, that’s what it makes us think of with the drooping leaves and branches pointed skyward. It looks almost as if the leaves died and a new species is growing out of the tree. What makes it extra freaky is that there are two big trunks side-by-side!

Stands out

We know that there are a lot of entries left, but this flower has to be the prettiest of the bunch. It is not often that you see flowers with such a varied gradient of colors. More than that, it’s something you’d paint as an artist.

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Roses are beautiful, but if every rose looked like this, there’d be more people getting stung by thorns in an attempt to collect these beauties. All in all, it’s good that this flower is rare. Imagine gifting a bunch of these flowers to your beloved with a box of chocolates!

Edible and unique

We wonder who stuck this flower out here because its place is certainly on top of a triple-tier wedding cake. They better put it back where it belongs quickly, or people might eat it! On a serious note, this flower is drop-dead gorgeous with its subtle shades and crimped edges.

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The white and the purple go so well together, and if you ever want to win over a loved one who’s upset with you, you better get a bouquet of these flowers. If you’re looking to get one, ask the florist for an “ornamental cabbage.”


If you’ve seen any movie or TV show set in Japan, you’re probably familiar with the cherry blossom, aka sakura, tree. Although the tree in this picture didn’t come from Japan, we get the same peaceful springtime vibe from the light pink leaves.

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This is actually a flowering dogwood, though, to the untrained eye the soft pink leaves look like picture-perfect sakura flowers. We’re jealous of whosever yard this is. We can just imagine reading a book under the shade of the delicate leaves.

Layers of protection

If you saw this image without knowing the context — that this article is about plants — you might think that a spider was responsible for the “webbing” around these berries. In reality, this is just a natural feature of the plant.

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They almost seem like the berries are being guarded by nature, or that they have a parachute ready to deploy as soon as the berries ripen. We’re not sure if these berries are edible, but even if they were, we think it’s better we don’t disturb them.

Wise old tree

What is this tree from the Upside Down in Stranger Things doing on Earth? While massive trees aren’t rare, the way that the branches appear to be angling downwards gives it a bit of an otherworldly vibe. Though we’re willing to attribute that to the camera angle.

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We can’t even fathom how old this beauty is. We’re no experts, but if we had to guess, we’d say that it’s a Kapok tree. While it may be as looming as a banyan tree, the large wedges at the base of the trunk indicate otherwise.

The other side of life

This particular flower looks gorgeous. Perhaps we’re just suckers for purple plants. Regardless, there’s no denying the natural beauty in these flowers that add a dash of color to some barren pebbles. If you’re hunting for these flowers, don’t just check under some rocks…

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The early crocus — that’s what this flower is called — can also grow in soil. You know, where we expect to find flowers. This picture makes it look like a rare find, but actually, these are common wildflowers in the US.

Orange treats

Since it looks like it’s straight out of a Disney fairytale, we’d argue that this tree is one of the most beautiful entries on this list. Mother Nature has an eye for aesthetic and matching colors, as seen in the gently draped strands of periwinkle and orange.

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This aptly named tree is called a golden dewdrop, and we can see why. Though if you find this in your yard, be warned. In some countries, it’s actually an invasive plant! We’d feel bad uprooting it, but we’d hate to see natural fauna destroyed because of it.

Alien hair

This tree just got a new hairstyle and is eager to show it off. The beautiful braids, all clustered together, look like a gorgeous mop of hair. We want to put one of those pink flowers in as the final touch.


Though the original picture was captioned as a “beautiful unknown tree,” Reddit stepped in and solved that mystery. This is a fishtail palm, native to Asia and Australia. The genus got its name because of the way the leaves are shaped, but we’d never guess that by looking at this tree.

Is it safe?

Are these even plants? At first glance, we almost mistook them for little light bulbs or alien gestation pods. Sadly, this isn’t some sci-fi creation, but in fact a super cool succulent. But good luck finding these anywhere other than Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.

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The Haworthia cooperi, aka Cooper’s Haworthia, isn’t always so translucent. As with most flora, there’s a variation in the plants you find, even within a single species. If we weren’t worried about it being an invasive plant, we’d love to see this in nurseries around the world.

Hearts-shaped petals

Some plants are rare because the species is only found in a certain part of the world, like the succulent we just saw. Others, though earned their spot on this list because the plant in question grew in such a unique way.

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We love plants, and this one loves us back. The echeveria bloom normally has curled stems, but rarely do they make something so picture-perfect. While the echeveria isn’t always pink, we are glad that this one is. We love it when nature lines up so perfectly.

Cotton, but not candy

If you are having a sugar craving, cotton candy might just satisfy it. However, we don’t recommend that you try eating the one below…because it isn’t food. That’s right, this fluffy pink masterpiece is a plant, not spun, colored sugar.

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The Geum reptans, the cotton candy lookalike you see here, is a member of the rose family. Though a rose would smell just as sweet by any other name, one look at this and we can smell the sugar wafting in the breeze at a fair.

Grow through what you go through

This plant belongs on a motivational poster. It shows that, even if you have daily struggles, excessive pain, and overwhelmingly hard work, there’s still beauty that can shine through. You only need to keep moving in that direction, and you’ll eventually get there!

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This is called the Claytonia verginica, but we prefer its common name — Virginia spring beauty. That definitely matches the hopeful vibe, don’t you think? As we said before, we will admit to having a weak spot for purple flowers.

Silky smooth

This plant is so visually busy, our eyes can’t decide what to focus on. The eye-catching turquoise flowers are truly a sight to behold. The way they’re curled with the faint sheen makes them look like silk or velvet, don’t you think?

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As much as we’d love to pick some of those flowers for a bouquet, the sharp-looking leaves give us a hard “no.” We’re not sure if they’re actually sharp, but we’d rather not take the chance. We’ll settle for just looking at the Puya bromeliad.

Bright candies

If we saw these berries in a pile on the ground, we’d be worried that we disturbed a bird’s nest. They look like cliche Easter eggs, complete with pastel colors and black speckles. And we’re not the only ones. One user joked that this branch is from an Easter egg tree.

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This person was walking in Atlanta when they stumbled upon a branch from a porcelain berry. We don’t know if these berries are edible, or if they just look like them. However, since brightly colored things in nature are usually poisonous, we’d recommend that you don’t try these.

A popular flower color

What’s this? More purple? Maybe we’re not the ones with a fascination. Perhaps it’s Mother Nature that can’t get enough of the color. The picture below is of a field of salvia, otherwise known as sage. Now that’s a name we recognize!

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Oh, and did we forget to mention the cat? Yeah, those don’t grow on trees or stem from the ground. This picture was posted on R/whatsthisplant, but we can’t help but wonder if the user meant to post it on r/cats.

Do the twist

We’re no strangers to cacti — or is it cactuses? They’ve become a staple in many households, especially for budding (pun intended) plant parents that want to start off with something low-maintenance. And a good thing, too, because a plant this tall would require a lot of watering.

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This is a Cereus forbesii cv Spiralis, though we have a few suggestions for a common name. For example, the C. fusilli or C. churro come to mind. Maybe we’re just hungry, but this cactus puts us in mind of several different foods.


If it wasn’t for r/whatsthisplant, we would assume that this field is full of cotton. However, cotton grows in small clusters, not as individual “balls.” But we’re not the only ones that thought this since the common names for this plant are “tundra cotton” and “cotton grass.”

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Now, are you ready for some wild facts about this wild plant? The common name is a giveaway for its habitat — you can find them in subarctic, arctic, and temperate regions. And humans have put them to good use, making candle wicks, paper, and pillow stuffing from them.


Multicolored plants aren’t rare. In fact, it’s not even unusual to see two different colors on the same tree/bush/vine. But what makes this flower so unique is the 50-50 divide. This delicate flower was plucked from a red rose bush…

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If you’ll pardon the nerdy reference, this reminds us of the scene in Alice in Wonderland when the guards slap red paint on white roses. This flower, however, is completely natural. And, due to the clear divide between two colors, it’s known as a chimeric rose.

Magic of multiple colors

Staying on the topic of multicolored plants, let’s look at this fascinating tree. We won’t beat around the bush (pun very much intended) with this one. Pictured below is a lush Cotinus, otherwise known as a smoke bush. Check it out…

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We sort of understand why it’s called a smoke bush, but we think it looks more like the flames of a campfire than the smoke it puts off. While we love the autumnal colors, we think this plant looks prettier in pink. Look online for a pink smoke tree. We’ll wait.

Home sweet home

We love looking at these stunning plants, but it’s important to remember that nature didn’t make them for us to enjoy. That honor goes to the birds and the bees…and the deer, squirrels, etc. Just ask this kingfisher that decided to take a rest.

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We once again have to think r/whatsthisplant because we were absolutely clueless. The flower pictured above is a Nulumbo nucifera, or, as you might know it, a lotus flower. Of course, the bird doesn’t care what it’s called, so long as it doesn’t get stuck in the flower.

Cat’s friend

What is it with people posting pictures of cats with flowers on this Reddit community? Sure, the internet loves cats, but there’s a time and a place for everything! Luckily, some users were able to look away from the cat long enough to identify the plant.

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This person’s kitty is chilling on a bed of mossy saxifrage. Clearly, this picture was taken on a warm summer day as the Saxifraga x arendsii blooms between March and August. We’re sorry to say that we don’t have more facts for you about this perennial beauty.

A problem? Or a solution?

Some people love decorating the insides of their houses with plants, while others, like this person, prefer to literally surround themselves with plants. One look at this and we’re humming “What Else Can I Do?,” Isabela Madrigal’s song in Encanto.

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We know that was a cheap joke, but it’s more accurate than you realize. This person’s house is drowning in Bougainvillea, an ornamental vine native to South America. While it seems out of place in the dull residential neighborhood, we’re grateful to this homeowner who let nature do its thing.


Nature loves patterns. Just look at how many times the Fibonacci sequence and golden spiral exist naturally. Now, we’re not mathematicians, so we can’t confirm this, but our guess is that the petals of this Camellia japonica form a golden spiral.

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The common name for this flower is “pink perfection.” That’s a lot easier to remember than C. japonica. Unsurprisingly, these flowers are native to East Asia. Though it didn’t reach the US naturally, it’s become famous enough to earn a spot as the official state flower of Alabama.

DIY umbrella

If you live in a rainy region, then you know how important a sturdy umbrella is. While manmade umbrellas have been around for thousands of years, we bet that this plant is older than several times over. Can you guess what it’s called?

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This man’s nature-picked umbrella is a leaf of a Colocasia gigantea, which has several common names including, giant elephant ear and Jack’s giant. We’re not sure how well it holds up against torrential rain, but it’s a more environmentally friendly alternative to those cheap umbrellas we find nowadays.

Color palette

Jumping right into it, this stunning tree you see here is called a rainbow eucalyptus. Not what you picture when you think of eucalyptus, huh? You won’t spot any koala munching on these because this species of eucalyptus lives in Papua New Guinea, the Phillipines, and Indonesia.

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The first human to take note of this tree did so in 1850. We can’t even imagine how his peers reacted to learning that he found a tree with peeling bark and rainbow stripes underneath. Heck, we wouldn’t believe it if we hadn’t seen this picture.

One of a kind

Just to confirm, this image is not of a painting. This is actually a plant, and everything about it, from the colors to the opacity of the leaves, is 100% genuine. What really surprises us, though, is that this didn’t come from an IKEA catalogue.

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Caladiums don’t usually look as monochromatic as this, but that’s what makes this person’s plant so special. In fact, you could easily find this plant in green, pink, or anything really. Personally, though, we like the modern art vibe this plant gives off.

Almost bird-like

Earlier we were distracted by a bird in a plant, and we can sort of say the same for this one. However, this time around, the bird is abstract. We doubt that this is a case of pareidolia, the illusion of seeing meaning in random patterns…

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It’s not uncommon for plants to look like other creatures as a defense mechanism. We are not sure if the Cyanotis tuberosa, aka dew grass, does this intentionally, but we certainly would not be surprised if that was the case.

Googly-eyed fruits

Most people use r/whatsthisplant as it’s intended to be used — posting pictures to identify plants — but every once in a while, a jokester logs in. This pet owner decided to have some fun with a batch of bizarre fruit they bought…

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Of course, the Reddit botanists were not dissuaded, and they identified the odd fruits hiding under the googly eyes. Someone bought a bunch of perfume wax apples and was inspired to mess with our eyes by posing this picture. Kudos, we guess.

Cactus variation

We saw a cactus earlier that defied our expectations of what a cactus should look like, and we’re back with another. Normally, we expect cacti to be prickly, have a few flowers, and be green. Yet, once again, nature decided purple is the new green.

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As with the other purple plants, this coloring is completely natural. We don’t know much about the Opuntia gosseliniana, other than its color, of course. We do think it’s a safe bet to assume that the fruit of this prickly pear tastes the same as the green ones.

Abstract art

Remember the translucent succulent? Well, before you go to the plant nursery to find one, take a look at this oddity. The Corpuscularia lehmannii, also known as the ice plant, is a geometric dream. Though, to be fair, part of that is the camera angle.

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One user even joked that this looks like a plant in Minecraft, and we can’t really argue. And, just like the Haworthia cooperi, this succulent originates from South Africa. But don’t get too disheartened yet. There are plenty of interesting plants available in every region.

Optical illusion

We tend to think of optical illusions as strange drawings or quirky crafts, but it seems like nature is also adept at making things that make our eyes hurt. This tree is a Cercis canadensis, also known as The Rising Sun.

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Between the spacing of the leaves and the color gradient, looking at this plant leaves us feeling dizzy and disoriented. It seems to have a natural 3D effect that we just can’t take our eyes off. Not all C. canadensis look like this, but this is our favorite. Duh!

Cutest of them all

We saved the best for last. Well, we’ll let you decide which is the best one, but we personally love this plant someone stumbled upon in California. Reddit came to the rescue and identified this as a Euphorbia terracina, aka Geraldton Carnation weed.

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This mini tea set looks like something out of a fairytale. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if this was used in Thumbelina. Nature sure is full of wonderful creations, and we can’t wait to see what new things botanists will discover next!