Saturday, September 23, 2023

10 Rarest Plants in the World You May Not Have Heard Of

Are you a plant parent who loves to nurture and care for plants? Do you love planting new species and filling your garden with distinct options? If yes, you might know much more about plants and flowers. However, do you know certain plants are found very rarely? If not, continue reading this article to explore 10 of the rarest plants in the world. 

Anything uncommon always attracts. Some unique plants have an ethereal and transitory beauty that entices you into submission. However, don’t cave into their charm; some are so lethal that their nectar can steal your soul.

So, tighten your seatbelts as Duniakagyan walks you through the 10 rarest plants in the world that are living bits of history. These plants will captivate your imagination and make you admire the complexity of nature and evolution. They have unusual life cycles, beautiful flowers sought after by collectors worldwide, and bizarre adaptations to attract pollinators. 

So, let us explore the unbeatable beauty of nature!

10 of the Rarest Plants in the World – Unveiling Nature’s Hidden Treasure

The following list of rarest plants will steal your attention and ignite an interest to explore more about them: 

1. Candelabra Tree

Candelabra Tree

Binomial name: Euphorbia ingens

The Candelabra tree is a distinctive tropical plant that can grow up to a height of 10-30 feet. Each stem has numerous distinct grooves with rows of thorns. During spring, little clusters of yellow-green blooms complement the vertical ribs of stems. You can plant it in elevated planters and big pots. 

This rarest plant is indigenous to South Africa’s coastal and inland areas, flourishing in arid and rocky settings. It matures into sculptural specimen plants employed as garden themes in well-drained soils. It can store rainwater from winter precipitation and requires only occasional summertime watering.

While dealing with this tree, you must know that its milky latex is poisonous and can cause blindness, skin irritation, and poisoning in animals and humans. The other side of this tree is its medicinal properties. It has been used against ulcers and cancers. 

2. Oahu Stenogyne

Oahu Stenogyne

Binomial name: Stenogyne kanehoana

Oahu Stenogyne, also referred to as Stenogyne Kanehoana, is a rare flowering plant in the mint family. It is exclusive to Hawaii, where it can be found in Waianae Peak on the island of Oahu. It is a federally endangered species in the USA. As such, it has to be one of the 10 rarest plants in the world.

This Hawaiian mint is a fuzzy plant that can grow up to 1 to 2 meters long. Its woolly leaves can grow up to 15 centimeters long and 5 centimeters broad. The plant produces tubular flowers that can grow more than 4 cm long. They are yellowish or pale in color and have purple or pink lips.

In 1996, when individuals familiar with Oahu Stenogyne died, the plan was thought to be extinct. However, the year 2000 witnessed the discovery of 6 more plants. Unfortunately, all died by 2006. In 2004, it was found that there is a single plant of this kind left in the wild, spanning over 4 meters.

3. Middlemist Red

Middlemist Red

Binomial name: Middlemist camellia

The Middlemist Red is thought to be the world’s rarest flowering plant, with only two known locations. One is in a garden in New Zealand, and the other is in a conservatory in the United Kingdom. The Middlemist Red is of Chinese origin and was introduced to the United Kingdom by John Middlemist in 1804.

The fully bloomed flower of Middlemist Red is amazingly captivating. Its petals are velvety and bloom in extreme grace and elegance.

Even though the word “red” is in the name, Middlemist’s Red is a rich pink color. It is thought that additional instances of this species have persisted in people’s gardens. They went unnoticed as they were formerly marketed directly to the public by John Middlemist.

4. Encephalartos woodii

Encephalartos Woodii

Binomial name: Encephalartos woodii

Wood’s Cycad, also known as Encephalartos woodii, is a lovely plant and a rare genus of Encephalartos. It is one of the rarest plants in the world that resembles a palm tree. Although the Kirstenbosch specimen is unbranched, older samples are frequently clustered at the top. 

Encephalartos woodii can grow up to 6 meters tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 30 to 50 cm. The trunk is generally thick at the bottom, and the top is covered with a crown of 70 to 150 leaves. Even in young varieties, the leaves are a deep lustrous green, 150 to 250 cm long. Their elegantly arching form gives these cycads a dense umbrella-shaped canopy.

More interestingly, this rarest plant is dioecious, i.e., it has separate male and female plants. However, there is no female plant yet discovered. Hence, the plant can never reproduce naturally until a female plant is discovered. 

John Medley Wood discovered it in 1895 on South Africa’s Ngoye Forest outskirts. He referred to it as “the most handsome of all” Encephalartos.

5. Tahina Palm

Suicide Palm or Tahina Palm

Binomial name: Tahina spectabilis

Tahina palm, popularly known as Dimaka, is a species of gigantic palm or Arecaceae or Palmae family. It is notable for its stunning end-of-life blooms. It is only found in Madagascar’s Analalava province, where it thrives in seasonally flooded marshlands. Xavier Metz, a Malagasy cashew producer, discovered the variety in 2008.

This rarest plant can reach a height of 18 meters and has palmate leaves of 5 meters. The canopy of round fan leaves makes it unique in appearance. The trunk of the plant grows to 20 inches thick. Rings of dead leaves wrap the tree beneath the crown of fresh growth, leaving ring scars on the trunk when they drop off. 

When the plant starts to flower, a cluster of flowers appears at the stem tip. It later bursts out into branches of hundreds of flowers. 

The core reason for it being so famous is its life! The total lifespan of this plant is 50 years! After blooming, it quickly dies. In addition, there are only 90 such plants in existence.

6. Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid

Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid

Binomial name: Paphiopedilum rothschildianum

Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid is a huge clear-leafed, rare flower species of orchid. It has a long inflorescence with up to 6 big flowers that blossom. It is the only Corypetalum species that holds its petals almost horizontally, giving the bloom a peculiar appearance. 

The flower features red and green speckled petals to lure parasitic flies that mistake it for a swarm of the aphids on which they lay eggs. As they attempt to do so, the flies rub against the stigma, shedding any previously collected pollen and then obtaining more from the other.

The blossoming season lasts from March to May. The plant can be found at heights ranging from 600 to 1250 meters above sea level in the jungles surrounding Mount Kinabalu in Northern Borneo. Generally, it grows as a terrestrial in ultramafic soil. However, it also grows as a lithophyte in leaf litter on ultramafic cliffs.

The blossoming season lasts from March to May. It can be found at heights ranging from 600 to 1250 meters above sea level in the jungles surrounding Mount Kinabalu in Northern Borneo.

7. Attenborough’s Pitcher Plant

Attenborough’s Pitcher Plant

Binomial name: Nepenthes attenboroughii

Nepenthes Attenboroughii, sometimes referred to as Attenborough’s pitcher plant, is a predatory pitcher plant of the Nepenthes family. Being one of the top 10 rarest plants in the world, it is named after Sir David Attenborough, a well-known broadcaster and environmentalist who is a fan of this species. 

The species is distinguished by its enormous, characteristic bell-shaped bottom and upper pitchers and its thin, vertical lid. The lower pitchers grow up to 30 cm long and 16 cm wide. On the other hand, the upper pitches grow 27 cm long and 12 cm wide. 

Both upper and lower pitchers are usually golden bright green, with a reddish-pink bloom, and may take dark purple color. The inside is a speckled purple and scarlet with blotches in between.

Do you know the largest recorded pitcher had a capacity of 1.5 liters, and the traps exceeded 2 meters?

8. Western Underground Orchid

Western Underground Orchid

Binomial name: Rhizanthella gardneri

Western Underground Orchid, also known as Rhizanthella Gardneri, is a severely endangered orchid species found in Western Australia. Beautiful and strange, this herb species spends its whole life cycle at or below the Earth’s surface. The species possesses the least chloroplast genes of any plant and aren’t engaged in photosynthesis. 

Around 100 small reddish to cream-colored flowers facing inwards are produced inside large pinkish cream-colored 6 to 12 bracts. These small inward-facing flowers are 4 to 5 mm wide. Bracts cover small flowers, forming a tulip-like head. They generally bloom between May and July. 

The remaining genes and their roles may bring fresh insights into crucial plant processes. This rare orchid is extremely scarce, with only 50 known wild plants discovered in five Western Australian locales. The orchids’ locations are unknown due to their scarcity.

9. Kadupul Flower

Kadupul Flower

Binomial name: Epiphyllum oxypetalum

Sri Lanka’s natural blossom, the Kadupul flower, is reputed to be the most expensive flower in the world. Because of its cactus roots, each Kadupul blossom has a very short existence and can only withstand the night before withering to naught by morning. That places it in our list of the top 10 rarest plants in the world. 

Despite this, the smell of the Kadupul is just breathtaking, with some soothing abilities. The bloom itself has a lovely white and golden tint and develops to a maximum height of 30 cm and 17 cm wide. 

The blossoms of the Kadupul usually begin to bloom between 10 pm and 11 pm, extending the process by 2 hours. Once all the buds have opened, the flowers have a lovely aroma and bloom on full moon days once a month. It’s also known as the Flower from Paradise, the Queen of the Night, and even the Dutchman’s pipe.

10. Quiver Tree

Quiver Tree

Binomial name: Aloidendron dichotomum

The Quiver Tree is a Southern African tree that can grow up to 10 meters tall. It was previously known as Aloe dichotoma. The tree can be found in relatively dry areas in Namibia and South Africa, where it provides food and shelter to a variety of animals, insects, and birds. In the summer, it has a beautiful look with yellow blossoms.

Climate change is threatening this plant species, so it is listed as endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The quiver tree, also known as Choje by the native San tribe, gets its name from the San practice of thinning out the tubular stems of Aloe dichotoma to construct quivers for their arrows.


This was our list of the top 10 rarest plants in the world. So folks, next time you go on a jungle safari in South Africa or explore the Amazon basin of Brazil, you might come across these rare plants. Don’t forget to click and post on your social media page when you do. 

There are still many mysteries around such plants as botanists study them closely. Many undiscovered plants are yet to be discovered by scientists around the world. Maybe you might have come across such rare plants on one of your treks into the wilderness.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What makes a plant rare?

Rare plants can be termed as uncommon plants with their species’ entire population consisting of only a few specimens, or the species is confined to a limited geographical habitat, or both.

2. What is the newest plant discovered?

On a secluded slope in Hawaii, botanists discovered a new type of orchid. Cyanea Heluensis is the name of the new plant discovered with white, curving blossoms. The plant is very rare, and only one of its types has been discovered thus far.

3. What would happen if all the plants in the world became extinct?

If all of the living species on Earth perished, all the living creatures on the planet would disappear too. Plants are necessary for the survival of humans and animals, providing them with oxygen to breathe. Mind you, plants are the primary source of oxygen required for survival.

4. Are there any undiscovered plants?

Science has yet to discover the majority of the world’s species. As of 2010, biologists had described and categorized 1.7 million flora and fauna, accounting for fewer than one-quarter of the total number of species anticipated on the planet.

5. Where can a rare plant be taken care of outside its natural habitat?

Botanical gardens and greenhouses are sites where rare species of plants can be cared for outside of their natural habitat.

6. How many plants do you need to purify a room?

Although estimating how many plants are required to filter indoor air is impossible, at least 2 decent-sized plants are advised for every 100 square feet of interior area. The larger and more leafy the plant, the better.

7. Do plants feel pain?

Plants do not experience pain like animals because they lack receptors, neurons, and brains. Uprooting a carrot or cutting a hedge is not botanical agony; you can eat that fruit without fear.

8. Do plants help with dust?

Indoor plants help reduce dust levels in offices and residences. Plants have been proven to reduce dust levels in ways scientists do not understand. In fact, according to NASA research, houseplants can reduce dust concentrations by up to 20%.

9. Do plants absorb cigarette smoke?

According to a recent study, plants can absorb nicotine and other poisons from cigarette smoke.

10. How do plants make the air fresh?

They turn the carbon dioxide we breathe into fresh oxygen through photosynthesis and may also eliminate contaminants from the air we inhale.

Rohit Kumar
Rohit Kumar
Passionate about content quality and attention to detail, Rohit has penned over 15,000 copies for some of the leading online and offline publications in his eight-year career. Currently heading the content team at Dunia Ka Gyan, he believes in team spirit, ingenuity, and reader satisfaction.

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