Rich in rain and high in temperatures, low latitude areas produce some of the most unique and interesting flowers in the world. In areas just above and below the equator are environments that team in all kinds of life. The rainforests of Southeast Asia, Africa and South America give the world a bounty of wide and diverse flora.
The Mickey Mouse Flower
The Mickey Mouse plant (Ochna Thomasiana) produces a bright yellow, five-petalled flower. A native of Southeast Africa, when the plant goes to seed, its petals change to red and its seed from green to black. It is then that the flower and its dropping seeds resemble Mickey Mouse.
The White Bat Flower
The White Bat Flower (Tacca Integrifolia) is a native of Southeast Asia and has huge bat-shaped blooms (up to 12 inches in its native jungle home), a near black center and long hanging tendrils that make the flower resemble a bat in flight.
The African Tulip Tree
The flowers of the African Tulip Tree (Spathodea Campanulata) are large cup-shaped red-orange blooms that fill with water and attract a wide variety of bird species. The tree itself can grow up to 60 feet, propagates easily and is considered extremely invasive. It has crowded out native species on many tropical islands including Hawaii, Fiji, Guam, and Samoa.
Brazilian Candles (Pavonia Multiflora) are dark pink-purple flowers, growing upright on shrubs that can reach six-feet high. The blue stamen protruding from grasping petals gives the flower a half-opened appearance and candle-like illusion.
Night Blooming Jasmine
Night Blooming Jasmine (Cestrum Nocturum) is unique not so much for its interesting bloom but rather for its strong fragrance. You will likely smell the small yellow-white flowers before you see them. The blooms open at night and send their pleasing aroma out until sunrise. The flowers are used in perfumes, medicines and in religious ceremonies.
The Dutchman's Pipe
The Dutchman’s Pipe is a small pipe-shaped brownish-purple flower hidden in a heart-shaped leaf. Although poisonous to humans, it is fragrant and attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. Dutchman’s Pipe is a high-climbing vine that grows prolifically once established and can quickly become invasive.