When it comes to diversity, plants have mammals beat in unusual features. Plants range from single-celled freshwater algae to giant sequoia trees, which can reach over 350 feet. Plants may be carnivorous in nature, or simply unusual to look at.
Giant Lily Pad
The pad of the giant water lily that grows in the Amazon rain forest of Brazil is the largest lily pad in the world. These pads grow during seasons of widespread flooding that raise the levels of lakes and rivers in the Amazon region. Giant lily pads may grow over 4 feet in size, and may support the weight of several people. Because of their size, the giant lily pads have a vein structure designed for supporting the pad while keeping it flat. The underside of the pad is covered in sharp, toxic spines to protect it from plant-eating fish.
This plant, which is native to rain forests in Sumatra and Borneo, is listed right at the top of almost any list of unusual plants. It has long been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the plant with the world’s largest bloom. Because the plant is parasitic in nature, it puts out perfume that smells like rotting meat to attract flies. The plant has no leaves, stems or roots, and instead gets its nutrients from the bugs that it traps. The flower is a fleshy color with bumps that resemble acne pustules and a hole in the center that may hold several gallons of water.
The flytrap is another carnivorous plant. Although the flytrap has a distinctive root system, it typically lives in poor soil. Healthy fly traps live on a steady diet of insects. The fly trap is known to live in boggy areas of the coastal regions of North and South Carolina. The mouth of the flytrap is a pair of hinged leaves on a stem. Each leaf is ringed by a set of cilia hairs, which overlap like fingers. The fly trap also has a set of trigger hairs along the edge of the mouth. When these trigger hairs are disturbed by an insect, the mouth springs closed and traps that insect inside. If the mouth springs closed on something that is not an insect, it reopens within 12 hours and "spits" out that object. Once the trap closes, it secretes digestive juices that digest the soft inner parts of the bug but leaves the exoskeleton. After 12 days, the fly trap reabsorbs the digestive juices. The remaining exoskeleton blows away in the wind or washes away in the rain.