Surprising Flowering Plants

From a cactus that produces a lily-like flower to what dogwood flowers really look like along with other surprises from flowering plants.

Do you like flowers?  How about surprises?  I do.  Did you know that there are some flowering plants that harbor surprises?  For example, do you know what dogwood flowers look like?  Hint: they aren’t white.

Or can you guess what plant produces a large, beautiful lily-shaped flower?  Hint: it doesn’t have leaves – it has spines instead.

Here are a few flowering plants and their surprising flowers:

Dogwood

Dogwood

Aren’t dogwoods beautiful?  While we don’t have dogwood trees where I live in the desert Southwest, I do come upon them in my travels.

Most people believe that dogwood flowers are white or pink, but they aren’t.  What appears to be white petals are actually modified leaves, called bracts, that encircle the actual flower cluster in the center.  As you can tell from the photo, the flowers are a greenish-yellow color.

Dogwood flowers appear in spring and can be grown in zone 5 through 8 gardens.

Fishhook Cactus

Fishhook Cactus

You wouldn’t expect to see bright pink flowers growing like a crown on a cactus, would you?  The bright pink flowers of fishhook cactus (Mammillaria microcarpa) typically only last for one day.  They attract native bees and bloom a few times throughout the summer months.

Its spines are slight curved at the ends, resembling a fishhook, hence its common name.  Fishhook cacti are native throughout the Southwest and can be grown in zones 8 and above.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Even if you don’t live in a tropical region, most of us know what bougainvillea flowers look like.  Or do we?

Bougainvillea flowers aren’t what you would expect.  The actual flower is located in the center of colorful bracts and is cream-colored.  Bougainvillea grows outdoors all year in zones 9 and above.  It can be grown in containers and brought indoors in winter in colder climates.

Argentine Giant Cactus

Argentine Giant Cactus

In spring, it is a time for lilies to bloom in the garden.  What you don’t expect is to see a large lily-like flower surrounded by spines instead of leaves.

The flowers produced by the Argentine giant cactus (Echinopsis candicans) are larger then your hand and are truly breath-taking.  This cacti is highly desirable due to its beautiful flowers and grows in zones 9 and above.

Smooth Edge Agave

Smooth Edge Agave

Flowers are produced only once by agave as they near the end of their lives.  After flowering, the agave plant dies.

The flowers that smooth edge agave (Agave desmettiana) produce resemble a sunburst or yellow fireworks.  After pollination, small agave plants that will fall to the ground and begin growing on their own under ideal conditions.  Agave can be grown outdoors all year in zones 7 and up, depending on the species.  In colder climates, they can be grown in containers and brought inside when temperatures fall.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about these surprising flowering plants.  Do you have a surprising fact about a flowering plant that you would like to share?  Let us know in the comment section.

 

 

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