New This Month

The Most Sinister-Looking Flower You've Ever Seen

Even scarier: it entices insects with it's bulbous "eyes."

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Photography by: Gyro / Getty Images

Sure, you could have a whole room full of succulents or snake plants, but none of them would compare to Aristolochia salvador platensis. In its prime, this flower's deep-set lobes resemble the same dead-pan stare of a skull. One thing is for sure, this is one flower you don't want to meet face-to-face on a dark night.

 

Give the flower a closer look and you may find a more familiar face, especially if you've ever seen a Star Wars movie. Many people call this plant the "Darth Vader Flower" in homage to its rounded top and flared petals that bear a striking resemblance to Vader's mask. Others compare it to Skeletor or the Grim Reaper.

 

These sinister floral features are, in fact, key to the plant's survival: The cavernous "eyes" of the skull and powerful aroma combine to attract insect pollinators. Once drawn in, insects fly through these "eyes," which are lined with sticky hairs that help to cover them with pollen. Unfortunately, the flowers don't last for long. After growing to the average height of two inches, the bloom will last about a week before wilting. The flowers grow off of a small, tropical tree called Aristolochia salvadorensis. Conversation around the flower on Palm Talk—a forum for botanists—shows that some have been able to grow this plant in the United States, but not without a huge amount of work and observation. But don't be discouraged: the flower's scowl would be the perfect visual for an updated take on your Halloween décor.

 

[LOOK: These Succulents Remind Us of Jumping Dolphins]
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Photography by: Shuichi Kadoya / Getty Images

If you want to see these flowers in their natural environment, you're going to have to book a trip. These peculiar plants are native to South America (Brazil, Gautemalea, and El Salvador) and, according to Gardening Know How, they prefer humid and soggy environments. The Aristolochia family is large; this particular plant is one of 500 species. So while this particular variety is tough to find, introducing one of its many brothers or sisters into your garden is doable.

 

Feeling inspired to start your garden? Watch how to propagate succulents: