Unusual Plant Names: Growing Plants With Funny Names

Unusual Plant Names: Growing Plants With Funny Names

By:
Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer







Ever heard the name of a plant that made you giggle just a
little? Some plants do have rather silly or funny names. Plants with funny
names earn these unusual names for a variety of reasons including shape, size,
growth habit, color, or even odor.

Uncommon Names of Plants That Will Make You Laugh

Here are a few funny plant names that will make you laugh,
and we promise they’re all G-rated. 

  • Shaggy Soldier (Galinsoga quadriradiata): This is a fast-spreading, weedy plant. The pretty, daisy-like flowers of shaggy soldier have white petals and golden centers, thus the alternate name of Peruvian daisy. 
  • Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus aculeatus): Butcher’s broom displays tiny, greenish white flowers on leafless stems. The flowers are followed by yellow or red fruit. Native to Asia and Africa, butcher’s broom (also known as knee holly or knee-high holly) is an aggressive plant that tolerates deep shade.
  • Sausage tree (Kigelia Africana): This one definitely earns its unusual plant name. Sausage tree (native to tropical Africa) boasts huge, hanging fruits that look much like hot dogs or sausages.
  • Nodding Lady’s Tresses (Spiranthes cernua): Nodding lady’s tresses are native to central and eastern Canada and the United States. This member of the orchid family displays fragrant, white, bell-shaped flowers rising above strappy leaves. The leaves often wither and die before the flowers appear.
  • Dancing Girl Ginger (Globba schomburgkii): Can also be known as golden dancing ladies due to the yellow, orange, or purple tinted flowers that rise above lance shaped leaves. Dancing girl ginger is native to southeast Asia.
  • Sticky Willy (Galium aparine): This plant is appropriately named for the small hooked hairs on the leaves and stems. Sticky willy is known by a variety of other funny plant names, including catchweed, goosegrass, stickyjack, cleavers, sticky bob, velcro plant, and gripgrass among others. This aggressive, fast-growing plant produces tiny, star-shaped flowers from early spring until summer.
  • Sneezewort (Achillea ptarmica): More funny plant names of this yarrow plant are sneezeweed, goose tongue, or white tansy. It displays clusters of showy white flowers in mid to late summer. The leaves of sneezewort are edible, either raw or cooked, but they can be toxic to livestock including horses, sheep, and cattle.
  • Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus): This one earns its name due to the rotten smelling flowers that are visible above soggy soil in early spring. The foul-smelling blooms aren’t poisonous, but the odor keeps hungry animals away. A wetland plant, skunk cabbage is also known by unusual plant names such as swamp cabbage, polecat weed, and meadow cabbage.
  • Kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos flavidus): Kangaroo paws are native to southwest Australia and grow only in very warm climates. It is rightly named for the velvety green and black paw-like blooms, and is also known as black kangaroo paw.
  • Mouse tail (Arisarum proboscideum): Mouse tail is a low growing, woodland plant that displays chocolate or maroon colored blooms with long, tail like tips in early spring.

While this is just a small sampling of the funny plant names
that are out there, it’s always fun to explore the plant world for gems such as
these – we all need a good laugh now and then!

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