33+ Rare Flowers You Have Probably Never Seen

Sometimes, it is not just curiosity that drives us to want to know rare stuff in the world. Our love for flowers is off the charts and it is understandable why we would want to know what rare flowers are there. For one, some can still be bought and taken home to be cared for as indoor plants. Having a rare flower in your home could upscale your home’s vibe. 

But how rare is rare? And where can we find them and what do they look like? In this post, we will talk about some of the rarest flowers known to exist. 

In this article:

Related: Types of flowers

Rare flowers 

There are various reasons behind the rarity of some flowers. One, they are rare because their natural habitat is already disappearing. Two, these flowers are highly specialized (which means that they have specific growth requirements, specific pollinators, etc.). 

Three, they are the lesser-known cultivars of more popular plants. Four, these flowers only bloom in a certain period, sometimes even for hundreds or thousands of years. Lastly, these flowers are rare because they do not reproduce easily. If you want to know some of these rare flowers, here is a list that you can use as reference. 

1. Black Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri)

Black Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri)

This one is listed as the rarest black flower which only grows in Southeast Asia. It is named as such because it looks like a bat, with stamens that look like whiskers. They are not rare plants so you can have one and plant it indoors. It needs humid yet cool indoor climates for it to thrive. 

2. Chocolate Cosmos (Cosmos Atrosanguineus)

Chocolate Cosmos (Cosmos Atrosanguineus)

It is considered as a rare flower native to Mexico because it no longer grows in the wild due to natural habitat destruction. At the moment, only a very few people know how to propagate the flower making it an expensive buy in nurseries and gardens.

It is also rare for its red-dark brown petals that look like cocoa and its fragrance that resembles the scent of chocolate. 

3. Cooke’s Kokio (Kokia Cookei)

This is another species belonging to the Hawaiian hibiscus family. It has large, ivy-like leaves with showy deep red flowers that look like the ears of the dog Cocker Spaniel and a dangling thin plume in the middle. This flower is now considered as fully extinct because of deforestation and they are also rare growing in the wild. 

4. Corpse Flower (Amorphophallus titanum)

Corpse Flower (Amorphophallus titanum)

This one is found mainly in Southeast Asian rainforests at an altitude of 12ft. It is particularly endemic in Indonesia. It is named as such because it has a very rare and obnoxious smell that resembles a decaying corpse or rotten meat. It is also called Titan arum. 

5. Dancing Girls flower (Impatiens bequaertii)

Dancing Girls flower (Impatiens bequaertii)

This East Africa native is considered as one of the rarest flowers in the world because they are not that easy to spot in the wild. The name is taken from their uniquely shaped petals that look like dancing girls, making them a rare and sought-after container plant. 

6. Devil’s Hands flower (Chiranthodendron pentadactylon)

Devil’s Hands flower (Chiranthodendron pentadactylon)

It also goes by the name of Monkey’s Paw and is native in Mexico. Its petals literally look like a red hand, exploding from a brown-red, larger petal. It is regarded in Mexico as a supernatural flower with high religious symbolism.

The fruits that this plant bears are also important ingredients in indigenous medicine specifically in treating cardiovascular diseases. 

7. Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus (Epiphyllum Oxypetalum)

Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus (Epiphyllum Oxypetalum)

This one is a native of India and Sri Lanka but has been listed as critically endangered because of loss of habitat. It is known for its trailing stems and very large flowers. It also comes with back petals that form a crown-like shape. In the late 1990s, it held the record of being the most expensive flower in the world. 

8. Fire Lily (Gloriosa Superba)

Fire Lily (Gloriosa Superba)

It is also called the flame lily and can only be found in Asia, the Pacific and in Africa. They are now considered endangered because of overharvesting. They are known for their trumpet-shaped flowers in orange, yellow and fiery red colors that resemble flames. It is also considered as toxic since exposure to the flowers causes skin irritation. 

Related: Types of lilies

9. Franklin Tea Flower (Frankliana Alatamaha)

Franklin Tea Flower (Frankliana Alatamaha)

It continues to grow in some American states but is now considered rare because it no longer grows in the wild. All that we see now are plants propagated from the last seeds saved from the 1800s. The flowers of the Franklin tree are white and cup-shaped and the scent resembles a honeysuckle fragrance. 

10. Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax Lindenii)

Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax Lindenii)

This one is rare because it only grows in a very specific climate. It needs high humidity and high temperature and only thrives in cypress swamps where a particular fungus is present.

Unlike other plants, it is also rare because photosynthesis happens in its roots and survives by stealing nutrients from other plants. It also does not grow leaves like other orchids do and it has become extremely rare as it is listed as an endangered orchid species

11. Gibraltar Campion (Silene tomentosa)

Gibraltar Campion (Silene tomentosa)

This delicate flower was originally spotted in the Rock of Gibraltar in the late 1900s. It was then listed as extinct because it was never seen again until it was found again in the same area in 1994.

It is a perennial with rare four to five petals growing per stem. The last Gibraltar campions are now protected under environmental laws.

12. Hawaiian Hibiscus (Hibiscus arnottianus subsp. immaculatus)

Hawaiian Hibiscus (Hibiscus arnottianus subsp. immaculatus)

This hibiscus flower is rare because it only grows in the Hawaiian Islands of Oahu and Moloka’i and specifically in the wet mountain rainforests of these islands. The immaculatus species of Hawaiian hibiscus is extremely rare because it only grows in Moloka’i. In the summer, immaculatus bear large hibiscus flowers of yellow, purple, orange, red and pink. 

13. Hooker’s Lips (Psychotria elata)

Hooker’s Lips (Psychotria elata)

It is also called ‘hot lips’ or ‘flower lips’ because well, it looks like the exact logo of the hot lips. It has deep green, glossy leaves and on top of these would be red bracts, spread like lips.

In the middle of the flower would be a very tiny yellow flower. It is a native of Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia. It is now endangered because of habitat loss. 

14. Jade Vine (Strongylodon Macrobotrys)

Jade Vine (Strongylodon Macrobotrys)

Due to deforestation and overharvesting, the Jade vine is now considered as a rare and endangered orchid species. It is found in the rainforests of the Philippines.

It has a distinct turquoise blue and emerald color, with claw-shaped blooms that dangles down like small grapes. It is difficult to propagate because it only relies on specific birds and on bats for pollination. 

15. Juliet Rose

Juliet Rose

Not only is it rare, it is also considered as one of the most expensive and beautiful roses in the world. The reason for its rarity is that Juliet roses take 15 years of cultivation before they could bloom flowers.

Each Juliet rose costs at least $120 and as such is also called the “£3 million rose.” The flowers come in apricot and peach colors revealing mini florets in the rose’s heart. 

16. Kadupul Flower (Epiphyllum Oxypetalum)

It is not the plant that is rare, but its blooming habit. This one is another type of a flowering cactus that only blooms rarely and only at night. When it blooms, you can find a large, star-shaped flower that withers in the morning. It is also called as the Dutchman’s pipe. 

Related: Types of cactus

17. Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedioideae)

Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedioideae)

Although orchids are common in the wild, the appearance of the Lady’s Slipper makes it a rare orchid species. When the flowers bloom, they branch out from a pouch-shaped part of the flower. It was already listed as extinct before the 20th century but a yellow species of it was discovered in England accidentally in the 2000s. 

18. Middlemist’s Red Camellia (Camellia ‘Middlemist’s Red’)

Middlemist's Red Camellia (Camellia 'Middlemist's Red')

It is dubbed as one of the rarest flowers in the world because it is only found in two places: New Zealand and London. It is a native to Asia (where it is now considered extinct) and was brought to London in 1804 by a British botanist, John Middlemist. It blooms as a showy, bulky dark pink camellia sitting in the middle of a leafy plant. 

19. Monkey Face flower (Dracula simia)

Monkey Face flower (Dracula simia)

It is also called as Dracula because two, long fangs extending down from the petals and a simia, along with ‘eyes’, a pair of furry eyebrows, a ‘beard’ and a small nose.

Overall, there seems to have a monkey’s face in the middle of the burgundy and pink flowers. It is only found in southwest Ecuador and Peru at altitudes of 3000ft. 

20. Naked Man orchid (Orchis italica)

Naked Man orchid (Orchis italica)

It is also called as hanging man orchid because its flower is made up of clusters of petals that look like small, naked men hanging on a round rope, complete with petal crowns that look like heads.

It has gone endangered because of overharvesting. The flowers of this orchid is known for their medicinal uses and are harvested to make the drink called Salep or Turkish Delight. 

21. Night-Blooming Cereus (Selenicereus grandiflorus)

Night-Blooming Cereus (Selenicereus grandiflorus)

This one is very rare because it only blooms its white, star-like flowers for one night in a year. After the bloom time, it will wither in the morning. The flowers emit a fragrant, vanilla scent. It is also known as the ‘Queen of the Night’ and is considered as a flowering cactus. 

22. Parrot’s Beak (Lotus berthelotii)

Parrot’s Beak (Lotus berthelotii)

This one is native to the Canary Islands and grows only on trailing vines. They are now listed as extremely rare and environmental laws have been passed in Spain and the Canary Islands to conserve the remaining Parrot’s Beak plants.

As the name implies, the petals of this plant form a bird’s beak shape of red and orange colors. It also goes by the name coral gems or pelican’s beak. 

23. Pokemeboy (Vachellia Anegadensis)

It looks a lot like a locust tree and is very attractive because of its pinnate leaves and bright yellow flowers that look like small pompoms. The poke-me-boy tree is only found in the British Virgin Islands but are now listed as critically endangered because of tourism and limited habitat. 

24. Rafflesia Flower

Rafflesia Flower

This one is considered as Indonesia’s national flower, strikingly. It is also one of the largest flowers in the world measuring to up to 3ft in diameter. It is rare not only because of its large size but also because of its foul smell.

Like the corpse flower, it smells like rotten meat. Aside from that, it is also rare because it does not come with roots, leaves, or stems. It is also known as the ‘stinking corpse lily’.

25. Red Indian Pipe (Monotropa Uniflora)

Red Indian Pipe (Monotropa Uniflora)

At first glance, the clusters of white flowers of this plant could look like weird mushrooms. It has translucent stems, and pipe like stems. They are rare because they do not need photosynthesis to grow. They could just grow anywhere in the wild and are considered parasitic. Like mushrooms, they only bloom after it rains. 

26. Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedilum Rothschildianum)

Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedilum Rothschildianum)

The slipper orchid is already a rare species but the Rothschild’s slipper orchid is considered as the rarest of all slipper orchids. It is only found in northern Borneo and Malaysia. It takes 15 years to grow and bloom flowers. 

It is also rare because of its striped yellow and black petals growing horizontally across each other. It is sold in the black market for $5000 per plant. It is also known as the Gold of Kinabalu (because it is regularly spotted in Kota Kinabalu). 

27. Sea Daffodil (Pancratium Maritimum)

Sea Daffodil (Pancratium Maritimum)

It looks like the sun, with many rays and is native to the Mediterranean. It is rare because it grows in clumps in the beach sand during the summer and never grows inland.

However, the sea daffodil is now close to extinction because of tourism. In most countries where it is seen thriving, picking it is mandated as illegal and punishable by law. 

28. Shenzhen Nongke Orchid (Gloriosa Rothschildiana ‘Shenzen Nongke’)

Shenzhen Nongke Orchid (Gloriosa Rothschildiana ‘Shenzen Nongke’)

This one is a famous cultivar of the Gloriosa orchids that is only developed in China. It is rare because it only blooms every five years. It has green and yellow petals with a distinct central petal. You can grow it but it costs a whopping $290,000 per plant. Maybe, the price also makes it rare. 

29. Swaddled babies (Anguloa uniflora)

Swaddled babies (Anguloa uniflora)

They are known as tulip orchids discovered in the 17th century in the Colombian Andes. They are named as such because the larger petals are protruding in an overlapping manner, making it look like they are swaddling a baby (which by the way is the pollen sack).

They are now endangered because of habitat loss. This poses a threat in insect and bird biodiversity because it is a favorite of specific birds and insects in Colombia. 

Related: Types of orchids

30. Vulcan’s Trumpet (Brugmansia Vulcanicola)

Vulcan’s Trumpet (Brugmansia Vulcanicola)

This one is already extinct in the wild because of limited habitat. This trumpet-shaped, peach colored flowers, in a drooping manner did not have a scientific name until the 1990s. The plant can grow to up to 13ft and the flowers at 9-inches. It is native to high-altitude areas in Colombia and the whole Andes region. 

31. Western Underground Orchid (Rhizanthella Gardneri)

Western Underground Orchid (Rhizanthella Gardneri)

It is not just rare but also looks odd. As the name suggests, this plant only thrives underground and does not see sunlight, ever. In terms of appearance, it is odd because the pinkish-white petals are encased in a pink bract. It could hold at least 100 petals and opens like a pomegranate fruit. It is native to Australia but is now listed as critically endangered. 

32. White American waterlily (Nymphaea odorata)

White American waterlily (Nymphaea odorata)

This one was once endemic in all the states of the US but now only grows in some states in the south and is now listed as endangered. It is distinguishable for its large white, star-shaped flower sitting atop a large leaf. It is a fragrant water lily that blooms in the morning and closes at night. 

Related: 34 Best Plants That Grow In Water (Without Hydroponics)

33. Youtan Poluo

Youtan Poluo

Perhaps, this is the rarest flower ever because it only blooms every 3000 years. This very tiny flower is native only in China and Taiwan and is considered as parasitic especially on palm leaves. It is also called as Udumbara. 

This one is referenced well in sacred Buddhists texts symbolizing immortality. When it blooms in clusters, it smells like sandalwood. It was discovered in 2010 in the home of a Chinese nun. 

FAQs about rare flowers

What is the rarest flower in the world?

The rarest flower in the world is the Middlemist Red Camellia. As have been mentioned, it originated from China but was brought as a specimen to London by botanist John Middlemist in 1804. It is considered as the rarest flower in the world because it is now extinct in China and two of its last two specimens are found in London and New Zealand. 

What is the rarest flower color? 

Generally, the rarest color for flowers would be blue. Blue colored flowers compose only 10% of the world’s 280,000 species of flowering plants. Famous blue flowers include Delphinium, Aster, Hydrangea, Lily of the Nile, Columbine, and Globe thistle. 

What is the ugliest flower in the world?

The Gastrodia agnicellus was named as the ugliest flower in the world. It is an orchid that looks more like a subterranean creature or a cluster of lamb tongues. It does not have stems, and roots, and was accidentally found by a group of botanists in Madagascar in December of 2020. This one is listed as a threatened species and is now put under law protection.  

What is the rarest rose?

The Juliet rose is considered as the rarest rose and also one of the rarest flowers in the world. This is so because it only blooms every fifteen years. Along with its extreme beauty and specific growing conditions, it is also one of the most expensive flowers in the world, costing $3M per plant. 

Related: Types of roses

What is the oldest flower in the world? 

The oldest flower in the world is called Montsechia vidalii and is native of the Pyrenees. They have been around for 130M years but only fossilized specimens were found. But that does not mean that the rose is not one of the oldest flowers in the world. As a matter of fact, roses have been around for 35M years now with 150 species. Cultivation of roses started some 5,000 years ago in Asia. 

What are the rare flowers that only grow in one place? 

Here are nine of the rare flowers that are known to only grow in one place: 

  • Kokia Cookei: Moloka’I.
  • Gibraltar Campion: Gibraltar Rock
  • Jade vine: Philippines
  • Tallong midge-orchid: New South Wales, Australia
  • Erica abietina: Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

What is the rarest flower in Animal Crossing?

Previously called Jacob’s Ladder, Animal Crossing is currently topping the charts as the most popular simulation game ever made. The rarest flower in Animal Crossing would be the Lily of the Valley. It only appears in very unusual conditions and while you can collect it rarely, it cannot be grown using traditional growing methods. 

What is the most expensive rare flower in the world? 

If you are wondering about the most expensive rare flowers in the world, you are looking at the following rare flowers: 

  • Saffron crocus at $840 per pound
  • Gold of Kinabalu at $4200 per plant
  • Shenzhen Nongke orchid at $225,000 per plant
  • Juliet Rose at $3M per plant

Conclusion

Rare flowers are nature’s bounty. They are proof of many environmental processes in between, leading to extinction and unabated human activities that led to deforestation and habitat loss. But in some special conditions, rare flowers are just extremely unique because of their growing habit and historical background. 

Nonetheless, it is handy to know about these rare flowers because you will never know when your knowledge of them becomes handy. Other than that, it is also good to know that some of these rare plants can be brought home to be cultivated as indoor plants. Though they come in a hefty price, it sure is worth it.

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