wacked plants

Way-Out Wednesday: Wacky Plants Sketchbook–Bleeding Tooth Fungus!

Bleeding Tooth Fungus,© 2015 Liz Vitale

Bleeding Tooth Fungus,© 2015 Liz Vitale

This horrid-looking thing is known by many names: Strawberries and Cream, the Bleeding Hydnellum, the Bleeding Tooth Fungus, the Red-juice Tooth, and the Devil’s Tooth. Young specimens “bleed” a red fluid, but can also be light pink, yellow, orange or beige in color. The juice itself contains a pigment called atromentin, which has been discovered as having anticoagulant properties similar to heparin.

Way-Out Wednesday,Wacked Plants Edition: The Doll’s Eye!

Dolls Eye Plant, © 2015 Liz Vitale

Dolls Eye Plant, © 2015 Liz Vitale

Also called the white baneberry, the doll’s eye is a species of flowering plant in the genus actaea, of the family ranunculaceae, native to eastern North America. Its most striking feature is its fruit–white spherical berries with black dots on the tip, hence the common name “doll’s eyes”. The berries ripen over the summer, turning into a fruit that stays on the plant usually until the first frost.

Although there are historical accounts of use in medicinal teas, both the berries and the entire plant are considered poisonous to humans. The berries contain cardiogenic toxins which can have an immediate sedative effect on human cardiac muscle tissue, and are the most poisonous part of the plant. Ingestion of the berries can lead to cardiac arrest and death. The berries are harmless to birds, who eat the white berries to a limited extent; this includes the ruffed grouse, yellow-bellied sapsucker, and American robin. These birds help to distribute the seeds to a new areas.

Way-Out Wednesday, Wacked Plants Edition: The Corpse Flower!

Corpse 3_11_2015

Amorphophallus Titanum,Copyright 2015 Liz Vitale

Amorphophallus titanum.

Huge.

Beautiful.

Rare.

Incredibly smelly.

Native to the  rain forests of Sumatra, the Amorphophallus titanum, or Titan Arum,can climb up to six feet tall when in bloom,opening to more than a yard across. But the plant is perhaps most famous for its truly noxious odor, which is akin to rotting flesh; hence its nickname, The Corpse Flower. The reason for that stench is that powerful odors attract pollinators—-flies.

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Way-Out Wednesday, Wacked Plants Edition: The Hydrona Africana!

Hydrona Africana

Hydrona Africana, Copyright 2015 Liz Vitale

So at first glance, the Hydrona africana looks like something out of Tremors or Dune. Possibly this inspired the great worms of those films somewhat? But, the Hydrona africana is indeed a plant,although it is a parasite. It has no green leaves to conduct photosynthesis to nourish itself, so it burrows great tangles of roots underground,propigating across much of the African continent,  to attach itself to the roots of Euphorbia plants. In a way, it is like a fungus.

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