If you thought egrets were graceful, just wait until you see Habenaria radiata or the "white egret flower." These delicate, white blooms were named after the bird—a graceful, long-necked member of the heron family.
While you can find egrets across the United States (near ponds, streams, tidal flats, and other water sources) you're only going to catch a glimpse of the white egret flower growing naturally in Asia, specifically China, Japan, and Korea. Like its flighty namesake, the plant is also found in wetlands (think: bogs and glades).
The fringed flower has petals that spread out like wings in flight, flanked by small green leaves. The resemblance is uncanny: Squint a little bit and you would swear you're looking at a swoop of cranes mid-flap. You'll rarely find a single white egret flower. If you plant a couple of bulbs, you'll find that the flowers will quickly multiply, creating an elegant collection of blossoms that tend to thrive in the late spring.
Unlike the Darth Vader flower or monkey orchid, these flowers are relatively easy to grow in your own home; just remember to bring them in during the cooler months. (Bulb sellers seem to be unanimous with the advice of giving the plant a full three months of dormancy during the winter before bringing them back outdoors.) The white egret flower can handle full sunlight or partial shade, and will bloom during the day and go dormant once the temperatures drop at night.
This is one of those plants that will certainly start a conversation during your next soiree. And even if you don't want to add them to your own garden, you never know when you're going to need to drop some obscure flower knowledge (hello, Jeopardy).
Feeling inspired? Watch how to propagate succulents and start your garden today: