The World's Most Disgusting Flower

Jill Harness

We tend to think of flowers as beautiful things with a lovely scent, but not all flowers comply to these standards. Take, for example, the Hydnora africana, which smells like dung. While the corpse lily might be the most famous of smelly, ugly flowers, the parasitic Hydnora deserves the trophy for most unpleasant.

But there's a very good reason for this flower's stench—it's fertilized by dung beetles and, as you may have guessed, no smell attracts these insects more than feces. While the plant looks like it may be carnivorous, it's actually designed in such a manner so the beetles have an easy time getting in, but a hard time getting out, meaning they pick up a lot of pollen and deposit it on the stigma before exiting.

While Hydnora africana might not be the most attractive plant in the world, it certainly has its survival strategy down and that's something worth our admiration—even if most of us would prefer to admire it from a distance.

[via io9]