Do you love being wowed by nature when you travel? Check out these 12 amazing giant plants and hunt them down on your next trip!
1) Rafflesia Arnoldii, Indonesia
Found only in the forests of Sumatra and Borneo, the world’s largest single flower can reach a diameter of one meter (3 ft.) and has the brightly colored texture of octopus tentacles.
Unlike more sweetly-scented flowers, the rafflesia emits a rancid stench in order to attract insects that aid pollination.
As an endangered plant, great conservation efforts are being taken to protect this other-worldly flora.
The largest flower in the world. Photo by Antoine Hubert
2) Kauri Tree, New Zealand
This New Zealand mammoth tree is one of the widest in the world and Kauri forests are some of the most ancient.
Tane Mahuta, New Zealand’s largest Kauri is 51 meters (169 ft) high and has a circumference of 13.8 meters (45 ft).
Its name in Maori means “Lord of the Forest” and is estimated to be up to 2,500 years old.
2,500 year old “Lord of the Forest.” Photo by betseythedevine
3) Splendid Pitcher Plant, Borneo
The largest of the pitcher plants, Nepenthes Edwardsiana, is only found in Malaysian Borneo and features a bulbous pitcher up to 50 cm (20 inches) in length.
Don’t be fooled by its exotic beauty—the splendid pitcher plant is one of the largest carnivorous plants and uses rolled leaves to trick prey into falling into its liquid-filled trap.
Eating mostly insects, the plant is occasionally known to consume rats, frogs and lizards.
These plants eat bugs birds and mice! Photo by Alias Rex
4) Flowering Talipot Palm, India
Native to India and Sri Lanka, the Talipot Palm is one of the largest palm trees in the world and can reach heights of up to 25 meters (82 ft).
This beautiful palm also has the largest cluster of flowers on a single stem, which can reach 8 meters (26 ft) long.
Used to create palm leaf manuscripts, umbrellas, wine and thatched roofs, the Talipot only flowers once in its lifetime and dies shortly after.
The Talipot Palm flowers once then dies. Photo by arianemittidieri
5) Corpse Flower, Sumatra
Similar to the Rafflesia and also endemic to the forests of Sumatra, the corpse flower (or titan arum) uses a putrefying smell to attract insects.
It takes its name from the smell as well as its deep red and purple coloring that mimics decomposing flesh.
It can reach up to 3 meters (10 ft.) and weigh as much as 50kg (110 lbs).
The Corpse Flower mimics a decomposing body to attract insests. Photo by un_cola
6) Coco de Mer, Seychelles
The Coco de Mer palm tree grows only on the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean and is famous for bearing the “double coconut,” the world’s largest seed.
Thanks to its unique appearance, the Coco de Mer seed has many names: sea coconut, bum seed, love nut or Seychelles nut.
Baffled sailors once believed it came from a mythical tree at the bottom of the ocean and European nobles in the sixteenth century would have the shells polished and decorated with jewels.
Owing to its rarity, the seed is still highly prized today for collectors and Ayurvedic medicine practitioners.
The world’s largest seed, once thought to have come from a mythical tree under the ocean. Photo by /.::GIB::.\
7) Neptune Grass, Mediterranean
Officially known as Posidonia Oceanica, Neptune Grass is a species of sea grass that grows in huge underwater meadows in the Mediterranean Sea.
In 2006, a massive 8 kilometer-long (5 mi) colony of the grass was found in waters off the south coast of Ibiza; it’s thought to be over 100,000 years old and one of the largest clonal colonies on Earth.
Neptune Grass can grow up to 8km long. Photo by Alberto Romeo
8) Giant Sequoia Tree, US
Also known as the Sierra Redwood, these amazingly tall trees occur naturally only on the west coast of the United States.
Growing as high as 85 meters (279 ft) and as wide as 8 meters (26 ft) in diameter, redwood trees and their forests are popular tourist attractions thanks to their epic proportions.
The tallest and most famous of the redwoods, the General Sherman tree, is located in California’s Sequoia National Park and is believed to be over 2,000 years old.
Tourists flock to see these majestic trees. Photo by yathin
9) Cardón Cactus, Mexico
When you picture a desert cactus you should know that the Cardón cactus is the king of them all.
Found mostly on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, this giant cactus can live well over 300 years and grow up to 19 meters (62 ft).
Traditionally the fruit of the Cardón was eaten by native peoples in Mexico and it is thought that the flesh of the cactus can be used as a psychoactive drug for use in ritual.
The flesh of this cactus is used as a psychoactive drug. Photo by Maximbo
10) Baobab Tree, Africa
Found across the savannahs of Africa, this unique tree has inspired many nicknames from bottle tree to upside-down tree to the Tree of Life.
Its sturdy, stout, fire resistant trunk can be as wide as 11 meters (36 ft) and often hollow, which provides living space for animals as well as humans—some trees have even been turned into barns or bars!
Known to be as many as 2,000 years old, baobab trees are thought to have mythical protective powers.
People have been known to live inside these hollow trees. Photo by redandgray
11) Pumpkins, North America
For something a bit more appetizing, the pumpkin is known as the world’s largest vegetable.
Thought to originate in North America, pumpkins are now cultivated all over the world for taste as well as size.
Weigh-off competitions are a popular festival activity and the current record was set in October 2010, with a Wisconsin giant pumpkin weighing in at 1,810 pounds (821kg).
The largest pumpkin ever weighed 821kg. Photo by baileyusa115
12) Montezuma Cypress, Mexico
The national tree of Mexico can grow as wide as 3 meters (9 ft) in diameter and as tall as 40 meters (130 ft).
The Arból de Tule, located on the church grounds in a town in Oaxaca is the world’s second widest tree with a circumference of 36.2 meters (119 ft).
It was placed on UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites in 2001.
Montezuma cypresses are sacred to Mexico’s native peoples and thought to represent a ruler’s authority.
The world’s second widest tree. Photo by RussBowling
Have you seen any of these plants and trees on your travels? What botanic wonders would you add to this list? Let us know!
If you liked this, you might also like: 8 Edible Flowers from around the World.
Main image: Pitcher Plants by brianwc.