Flowers are an integral part of many landscape designs and gardens, and it doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to gardening or a veteran, you can appreciate the beauty that flowers offer. They’re the perfect gift or decoration, and you can make your space stand out by incorporating a rare flower or two into the mix.
In fact, we’re going to focus one some of the more stunning and rare flowers found around the world. Most of them also come with at least one characteristic that makes them unique or special, and some are much harder to find than others.
There is a huge range of rare flower species currently known, and there are thousands more that haven’t been discovered yet. You can find some rare flowers growing in tropical forests, mountains, and some are in protected botanical gardens. We’re going to touch on 18 of these rare flowers and show you what they look like below.
Why Some Flowers Are So Rare
So, why are some species classified as rare flowers and some aren’t? There are a few reasons behind this, and they include but are not limited to:
- Environment is Disappearing – This is typically the most common reason why you have rare flowers. Deforestation and the destruction of the flowers’ natural habitat for both plant and animal extinction.
- Lesser Known Cultivars – It’s a common practice for horticulturists to develop new cultivars all of the time. Some quickly gain in popularity while others don’t, and some of the massively popular ones slowly become rare as demand exceeds production.
- Only Bloom Every Few Years – One great example of a rare flower that only blooms every few years is the corpse flower. So, it reproduces at a very slow rate every few years. In fact, this can make flowers so rare that you may not even see it if you go to places where it naturally grows.
- Reproduction Isn’t Easy – Some rare flowers have very weak seed abilities or reproduction abilities. So, they find it very difficult to survive outside of a controlled environment.
- Specialized Needs – Some flowers, plants, and animals only thrive in a small space or with very specialized needs. Some flowers will depend on a specific pollinator, like the ghost orchid.
- Specific Environment Requirements – Finally, some rare flowers require very specific environments to grow, so they won’t do well outside of this select area.
18 Rare Flowers Found Throughout the World
Of the thousands of rare flowers in the world, some stand out much more than others. Some will cost you a fortune, some are very unusual, and some are on the very verge of extinction.
1. Black Bat Flowers
One of the many rare flowers gets the name since it has a shape that looks a little like a bat when it hangs from the tree. The flowers are a very deep purple color and come with longer white filaments. The purple is such a deep shade that it looks like it’s black.
Surrounding this rare flower are shiny emerald green leaves that contrast nicely with the darker flower coloring. It blooms early in the spring months and goes well into autumn. One unique point with this plant is that it is actually an orchid. Also, these flowers do stunningly well inside and grow and bloom over and over again if you meet the specific requirements.
Growing this rare flower takes slightly more effort along with the basic care requirements that an orchid has. You’ll want to grow it in a shade place to help catalyze the growth, and it should have a well-drained soil. Water it moderately to keep it happy, and the soil should have a very rich nutrient content with a loamy texture. If you decide to plant it outside, make sure that it has protection from the winds or the emerald leaves will get tattered and burned.
2. Chocolate Cosmos
As the name suggests, this rare flower has a unique reddish-brown coloring that is so dark it looks black when the light hits it. As a bonus, it has a fun chocolate scent. This cosmos plant is very easy to grow, and it’ll attract butterflies in hordes to the sweet chocolate scent it emits. You can grow it inside containers, and it’s very easy to maintain. All you’ll have to do is plant it in a fertilized but well-drained soil in a spot that gets a minimum of six hours of sunlight each day.
When it comes to watering this rare flower, you should do so once a week at the most. This plant is prone to root rot, so watering it more can cause huge issues down the road. Also, before you water it, make sure that the soil is dry from the last watering session to prevent the plant from dying. One point about this flower is that, unlike other flowers, it won’t produce using seeds or pollen. The seeds are actually sterile.
Instead, this rare flower reproduces using the root system. So, if you’re looking forward to growing the chocolate cosmos, look for young roots. Also, to keep this plant healthy and thriving for years, each time a flower dies, you want to separate it from the plant to prevent the plant from dying.
3. Corpse Flower
The corpse flower is also known as the carrion flower. However, the name is very fitting for this rare flower because it releases a very strong odor that smells like a rotting dead body. It’s also one of the biggest flower structures on the list. Researchers found that even though the scent of this flower is terrible to people, when you combine it with the color and temperature of the flower, it attracts lots of pollinators.
It produces very dark purple flowers, and from the center of the flower, this plant will grow a green, long structure in a conical shape. When you look at this rare flower from a ways away, it looks like a stem. However, they have a much softer texture to them. It may not be the biggest flower in the world, but in June 2010, it earned the Tallest Bloom in the World title because one grew to be 10 feet, 2.25 inches high.
This is a rare flower that has a spot on the list because it takes 7 to 10 years for it to bloom. Even after the first bloom when you plant it, there is no guarantee that the plant will ever bloom again. In some instances, your plant will bloom in a few years again, or they can go up to the full 7 to 10 year span.
4. Flame Lily
Fire or flame lilies aren’t some of the rarest plants in the world, but some countries do have them listed as endangered. There are roughly 12 species in the Colchicaceae family, and they grow through tropical countries like Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific. Flame lilies will give you very showy flowers with a trumpet shape. The common name on this rare flower comes from the yellow-orange or red petals that look like flames. If you decide to grow these flowers on your property, remember that they are toxic. Touching these flowers can cause skin irritation.
5. Franklin Tree Flower
If you’re on a quest to get rare flowers, you can’t forget the Franklin Tree Flower. It was first discovered by an American botanist in 1765, and it’s a very late bloomer. It stayed in the original space for years with the numbers on a slow decline, and then it vanished by 1803.
To date, no one is sure why this rare flower disappeared. Researchers hold various theories, but the exact reason isn’t known. Again, a few years later, researchers found a few specimens dotted around the United States, and they currently grow in regions of Massachusetts and Florida. The number of plants alive is dangerously slow, and it’s currently extinct in the wild. Specific botanical gardens around the world are working to preserve it.
6. Ghost Orchid
You can find the ghost orchid growing in marshy and humid areas, and it gets the name from the odd, frog-like, shaped flowers that give it a unique appearance. The white flowers come with a very pretty scent that attracts moths during the night. It’s actually the moths that help this flower with pollination and reproduction. So, without these moths, this rare flower would vanish.
You can find ghost orchids growing in Cuba and Florida, and researchers claim that one of the most exciting facts about this plant is that there are only 2,000 ghost orchid trees surviving in FLorida. It would also be impossible for anyone to successfully grow a ghost orchid in the garden because giving them the right environment is impossible. They believe that anyone who takes this plant and tries to put it in their garden would quickly end up with a dead plant.
Additionally, no one really knows the original location where these rare flowers grow and thrive. The level of secrecy and security is in place to help protect the flowers from poachers. However, pesticides, climate change, and pollinator loss is making this flower rapidly disappear. Scientists are currently looking into more rapid ways to germinate seeds to stop the rare flower from going extinct.
7. Gibraltar Campion
This is the most famous flower in Britain, and you can hear it called Britain’s pride. This is a very short, rare flower that blooms for a brief time. The flower can have coloring that ranges from violet to various shades of pink, and you can find them growing around the outskirts of Gibraltar.
Right away, researchers assumed this flower was extinct because they found it in such low numbers until 1984 when they found more plants. However, in 1992, this rare flower vanished a second time until they came back in large numbers in 1994. They’ve been around since then, but the numbers are low.
8. Hawaiian Hibiscus
Hibiscus shrubs themselves are not rare, but you have to travel to Hawaii’s Molokai or Oahu islands to see this particular flower. Even then, you’ll only find this flower growing in wetter mountain forest areas. There are several Hawaiian hibiscus species available, and you may hear them called koki’o. These plants produce very big, pretty flowers, and some of them will release a fragrance. The big tropical flowers can be orange, yellow, pink, or purple.
From all types of hibiscus, the Hawaiian hibiscus is the rarest flowering shrub in the world. This native plant will only grow in a few select locations on Molokai Island. This rare flower can be so hard to find that the subspecies is now on the endangered list for rare plants and protected.
9. Jade Vine
Also called Emerald Creepers, this rare flower landed on the endangered list due to extensive deforestation. One of the most rare, beautiful flowers this plant is known for is the stunning greenish-blue flowers that are in a claw shape. They will dangle from the branch and are surrounded by dark green leaves with a slightly wavy texture. Although it’s rare, you can try to grow it in your garden, especially if your location happens to fall into this plant’s preferred growing zones. All you need is moderately humid conditions and watering when the soil like like it’s drying out.
Most people also don’t realize that many indoor temperatures and humidity levels are perfect for this vine to grow and thrive. They are great houseplants that will also do well in greenhouses. To grow them, the temperature should stay around 60°F (16°C) to help avoid damage to the roots. You should also put it into a clay pot because they’re breathable and allow for excellent air circulation. You can trim them, but you don’t need to full out prune them because they require new and old leaves to grow.
10. Juliet Rose
Did you know that this rare flower is actually the most expensive rose in the world? This plant was valued at 90 crores, and this is $965,925,000.00 USD. In 2006, David Austin, a famous breeder, introduced it to the world. He created it by combining different rose species until he came up with this one. This rare and pretty flower comes in a very light peach shade with a deep apricot core coloring.
It has a very soft, velvety texture with voluminous petelas, and it also produces a very soft fragrance that has a hint of tea. It’s very challenging to grow, and reports state that it took David Austin 15 years to perfect it. The price is now right around 26 crores for one rose ($278,975,840.00 USD), but as the most expensive rose in the world, you may hear it referred to as the three million pound rose too.
11. Kadupul Flowers
This is another expensive rare flower, and it’s rumored to be one of the most expensive flowers in the world because it actually doesn’t have a price. This is a cactus flower that is priceless because the moment you pick the flowers, they instantly die. They also only bloom during the night and wither away when the morning comes around. It has a very strong fragrance that is said to have calming and soothing effects.
Along with the flower dying instantly when you pick it, it will only bloom once a month. It blooms on a full moon night. So, if you want to enjoy this rare flower, you’ll have to wait until the full moon and go out at 10pm to see them bloom. This makes them a nice contender for yoru moon garden.
12. Lady’s Slipper Orchid
If you saw the name of this rare flower and guessed that the name came from the shape of the bloom, you’d be right. They come in a wide range of shades, including yellow, purple, and pink with yellow being the most popular choice. The reason why this orchid is rare and endangered is because the success rate is just 5% when it comes to blooming after transplantation. A few varieties of this orchid are rare flowers, and other varieties that are slightly more common, have been marked for concerne of them vanishing, including the pink lady’s slipper orchid.
13. Middlemist Red Flower
Middlemist red flowers are such a rare flower cultivar that you can only find them growing in two spots in the world. One is growing in a garden in New Zealand, and another is growing in the United Kingdom in a greenhouse. Each of these spots has a single plant left. They were originally from China, and you could find them in shades of pink and red, and they’re now considered one of the rarest flowers in the world.
The name comes from the man who brought this rare flower from China to the United Kingdom years ago, John Middlemist. The plant is now completely wiped out in China. It is rumored that John Middlemist sold a few samples to the public before it became very rare.
14. Night Blooming Cereus
This is a very popular desert plant and famous cactus. You can find it growing in Arizona, and they have the nickname of the Queen of the Night or the Princess of the Night. They won’t produce the showy blooms until they reach between four or five years old, and even when they produce them, you’ll get little flower clusters to start. The flowers only bloom at night and they have a white coloring to them. They droop and wither by dawn and leave a red fruit behind.
The moths pollinate this rare flower’s seeds at night and are attracted to the area by the fragrance the flower emits. They’re decently easy to grow when you compare them to some of the rare flowers on the list, and you can cut a young root to and transfer them to a new place to grow. So, if they’re so easy to grow, why are they a rare flower? The plant may not be rare, but the flowers only last a single night. It withers and dies instantly, and you can’t preserve it.
15. Parrot’s Beak
This is a flowering perennial plant that you will only find growing on the Canary Islands on Africa’s northwest coast. You may hear it referred to as cat claws, lotus vines, pelican beaks, and coral gems. The shape of the flower is where this plant gets the name of the Parrot’s Beak. The flower’s coloring can range from red to orange, and it has sparkling silver lines on the stems. It’ll typically start to bloom in the late spring, and they need chilly nights to bloom and thrive the best. You’ll find them used for decorative purposes in flowerpots or as a ground cover.
Growing this rare flower is slightly tricky, and they do better when you expose them to full sunlight. However, they need to have extended periods of cooler temperatures in the nighttime to kickstart the blooming process. So, they’re nice to grow during the fall or spring months. They require well-drained soil, but if you don’t water them correctly, the leaves will droop.
16. Rafflesia Flower
You’ve most likely heard of the Rafflesia flower, and it’s not just one of the more rare flowers on the list, but it’s the biggest flower in the world. In total, there are now 28 different species of this flower, and every one of them are parasites. It comes with a five-lobed structure that is very fleshy and thick, and it has darker red petals dotted with tiny white spots. Another unique point of this rare flower is that it doesn’t possess any stems, roots, or leaves.
The huge size and unique look aren’t the only reason this is a rare plant as it also emits a smell that is just like rotting meat. The strong smell stops birds and other animals from coming around it, so the pollen and seeds don’t get distributed to encourage new blooms. There is a single pollinator for this rare plant, and the carrion-feeding fly is attracted to the scent. This flower can weigh up to 24 pounds and be three feet in diameter at full maturity.
17. White American Water Lily
Although this may not be one of the rarest flowers around, many of the habitats are now endangered. They are multi-petaled flowers that have a bright yellow core, and they thrive in ponds in North America. This plant has blade-like leaves with a slightly red tinge when they’re young, and they turn a green color as they age. It has a very nice smell, and most people buy them for decorative purposes.
18. Youtan Poluo
The final rare flower on the list earned its place on this list due to the folklore around it. It is said that this flower will only bloom once every 3,000 years. Folklore claims that this flower will bloom to signify the reincarnation of Buddha. However, scientifically speaking, there isn’t a lot of information available about this flower. It doesn’t have a scientific name, and scientists aren’t sure yet if it’s a moss, flower, or leaf.
This smaller flower comes with petalled filaments that emit a scent that smells like sandalwood. It produces smaller white flowers that are roughly a millimeter wide, and many people often mistake them for insect eggs due to the tiny size.
These 18 rare flowers are ones you can consider adding to your garden, but you should look very closely at the care requirements to ensure you can keep them healthy and give them the best chance to bloom and thrive. Some will be impossible to get due to their price or protected status, but several you can source easily and plant in your garden or as an indoor plant.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.