Many flower names often describe a plant accurately in terms of color and texture. Occasionally, a flower has a name that comes off as odd. Growing flowers with odd names is a fun pastime that can provide a few off-kilter conversation starters.
A member of the verbena family, the oddly named bleeding heart (Clerodendrum thomsoniae) is a flowering evergreen shrub native to tropical West Africa. The shrub sports lacy green foliage and delicate heart-shaped flowers that are usually hot pink and white, or simply pure white. The shrub has a vine-like quality and can be trained outwards as much as 15 feet. Bleeding heart can be cultivated in partial shade in USDA zones 9 to 12. The tropical plant prefers high humidity and a moist, rich soil that isn't water-logged. Water the plant frequently, and plant in a container if the risk of a hard winter frost exists. Take bleeding heart indoors during the winter if living in a cooler climate.
Devil's Walking Stick
A native of the Eastern United States, devil's walking stick (Aralia spinosa) boasts not only one odd name, but two: the plant is also referred to as Hercule's club. Devil's walking stick is a large shrub or small tree that can reach heights of up to 15 feet, and widths of twice that. The plant boasts dense clusters of yellow or orange flowers, which appear throughout the summer. Devil's walking also offers lush foliage that transforms into warm colors during the autumn. The plant is best suited to cultivation in USDA zones 4 to 9, in either partial shade or full sunlight. Devil's walking stick should be planted in well-draining soil that's kept moist to the touch.
A member of the mint family, lion's ear (Leonotis nepetifolia) is a strangely named plant native to subtropical and tropical Africa. The erect annual, which can reach up to 8 feet tall, boasts pointed green leaves and clusters of tubular red flowers. A popular plant for butterfly and wildlife gardens, lion's ear is highly attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Lion's ear should be grown in USDA zones 8 to 11 for best results. The plant is moderately drought tolerant, but it won't reach its full potential without regular watering. A well-draining soil is ideal for lion's ear.