Flower Of Hydnora Africana, The Strange Plant That Look Like Woman Virginia by Memes (m): On Thu Nov 2022 12:13pm
Hydnora africana, the strangest plant in the world?
The genus Hydnora (Hydnoraceae) is one of the basal angiosperms in the order Piperales, found in the semi-arid regions of Africa, and the Southern Arabian Peninsula. Plants in this genus play essential roles in communities around the world as revealed by various studies. Currently, there are eight species of the genus Hydnora; seven in Africa and one in the Arabian Peninsula. Notably, Hydnora abyssinica A.Br. and Hydnora africana Thunb. are widely distributed compared to other species. They are widely used for their medicinal and nutritional values. The information on ethnobotany, chemistry, pharmacology, and distribution of genus Hydnora was gathered using phytochemical and ethnobotanical books, electronic sources, and published articles. Preliminary phytochemical screening shows that flavonoids, phenolics, proanthocyanidins, and tannins are the main compounds in H. abyssinica and H. africana. Furthermore, 11 compounds have been isolated from H. abyssinica. The biological activities of H. abyssinica and H. africana have been reported. They include antibacterial, antiproliferative, antioxidant, antidiarrhea, and antifungal potentials. Despite the Hydnora species being practiced in ancient folkloric medicine, their traditional uses and pharmacological value are poorly documented. Based on the available information on ethnobotany, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and distribution, we aim to provide research gaps and challenges for a better understanding of this genus. This may be resourceful in the development of effective phytomedicines, and aid in conservation. The available studies on this genus on some aspects such as phytochemistry, pharmacological activities, and distribution are under-reported hence the need for further research.
With no leaves and no chlorophyll, Southern Africa’s Hydnora africana is a underground-dwelling parasitic plant in that gets all of its sugars, minerals, and water by attaching to the roots of Euphorbia plants. It also has an unusual looking and smelling flower that pushes its way above ground to be pollinated.
What does it smell like? And is it The Strangest Plant In The World? Decide for yourself as Anna Rothschild introduces Hydnora africana in this Gross Science video.

Plus, more from the Botanical Society of America:
The flower of Hydnora, when it first opens, has white threadlike structures… The openings between these threads are barely large enough for a beetle to enter… Although a beetle may enter a flower, it evidently has difficulty in finding its way out of the flower. This keeps it inside a flower long enough so that the beetle can pick up pollen or deposit pollen on its surface onto the stigmas at the bottom of the floral tube.
The threads that cross the gaps between the “sepals” of the Hydnora flower when the flower opens are pulled apart after a few days. Any beetles that entered the flower through those threads can now easily escape…
Flowers pollinated by beetles usually have some tissue that offers beetles as food. In Hydnora, that’s the whitish tissue on the inside of the “sepals.” But beetles don’t confine their feeding to such special “bribe” tissues. Beetles eat pollen and then eat the cells of the stigma. Beetle-pollinated flowers usually have an abundance of pollen and an abundance of stigma areas, and Hydnora flowers are no exception. By producing excess pollen and stigma cells, beetle-pollinated flowers succeed in achieving pollination and producing seeds despite the feeding habits of the beetles.

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