According to scientists there are over 270 000 types of flowers in the world and this number excludes the 10-15% that are currently still unclassified. Given the incredibly large number of known species of flowers, listing the rarest of them can never be an accurate science. However, the specimens listen below are not only the rarest of their kind, but each of them possess a very unique character and backstory.

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Jade vine (strongylodon macrobotrys): This specimen is native to the tropical rainforests of the Philippines. These claw-like flowers hang from thick trusses and can reach up to three meters in length. Due to the destruction of its habitat and a decrease in natural pollinators, the jade vine has become an endangered species. Its luminescent blue-green hue virtually glows in the sunlight, reminiscent of something in an 80’s science-fiction film.

Corpse flower (rafflesia arnoldii): This strange flower is found mainly in low lying tropical rainforests of Indonesia. This is one of the world’s most endangered and largest flowers and can reach a total width of over a meter. It is a stem-less, leafless, rootless parasite which requires a host vine for nourishment. Loyal to its name, the corpse flower releases a pungent rotting-flesh smell when in bloom to attract flies for pollination. Once the flower has bloomed, it will only last a week before dying.

Parrot’s beak (lotus berthelotii): Parrots beak has been classed as exceedingly rare since 1884.  This plant originated in the Canary Islands and is believed to have originally been pollinated by sunbirds, which have long since become extinct in the Canary Islands. Bright orange in colour, it extends out in vibrant gossamer claws.

Chocolate cosmos (cosmos atrosanguineus): The chocolate cosmos is native to Mexico and had reached organic extinction over a hundred years ago. The species survives today as a single non fertile clone, which was created in 1902. The flowers are deep red to brown in colour and grow to about 3-4 cm in diameter. They have a warm vanillin fragrance, reminiscent of freshly made chocolate cake, which would make them a popular household centrepiece.

Ghost orchid (epipogium aphyllum): The Ghost orchid, a plant that was presumed extinct for almost 20 years, recently reared its head again. The rarity of this flower is attributed the fact that it is very difficult to propagate. It has no leaves, does not depend on photosynthesis and can languish underground for years, blooming only when all conditions are optimum for its survival. Its white, tapering petals give it an ethereal other-worldly appearance, which consequently gave rise to its name.

Yellow and purple lady slippers (cypripedium calceolus): This delicate orchid can only be found in one particular spot in Lancashire; a golf course. This flower is so scarce that it has been under police protection for about 100 years. Like something out of an Enid Blyton book, it presents itself as a tiny yellow lady slipper framed in purple petals.

Dead-horse arum lily (helicodiceros muscivorus): Though this flower is one of the most fascinating, it doesn’t quite qualify as an anniversary gift - or as a gift of any kind actually. Its tear-jerking quality, however, refers to the odour it gives off - the distinct smell of rotting meat, which is used to attract female blowflies. These flies are captured inside its swollen cavity and only released the morning after flowering. This disturbing behaviour is what helps this species propagate.

Kadupul flower (epiphyllum oxypetalum): This pearly flower’s rarity is a result of its particularly short blooming time. The Kadupul flower blooms only after midnight and withers away within a few hours – and as a result it has evaded scientists for years. Because of this, it is also the world’s most expensive flower –  it is priceless because no one has ever had one long enough to sell it.

Youtan Poluo (udumbara flower of the ficus racemosa tree) : The Youtan Poluo embodies the mystery of Oriental myths.For centuries the Youtan Polou was believed to be a legend, until a Chinese farmer found miniscule white buds (measuring 1mm in length) growing inside steel pipes. According to Buddhist legend, this flower only blooms once every 3000 years and was believed to exist only in Buddhist scripture. They have since been found blossoming on the Buddha statue’s head at the Chonggye-sa Temple in Seoul.

Middlemist Red (middlemist camellia): Although the Middlemist red simply looks like a beautiful garden variety flower, it’s probably the rarest flower in the world. Even though this flower may lack the eccentric characteristics of the others on this list, it definitely wins in terms of rarity. There are only two known examples in existence; one in New Zealand and one in the UK.
Friedl
About the Author:

Friedl is a copy writer for a online flower store. He loves writing articles to inspire florists across the world.

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