Ever heard of Hydnora Africa? Also known as “jackal food” or “Jakkalskos”, this is one of the rarest, strangest and most foul-smelling plants you can find in the world.
Next We tell you about it, its characteristics and all the curiosities we found about this flowering plant that you do not want to have in your garden.
How is the African Hydnora
If you’ve never met Hydnora Africa before, here we are for you. As you can see, it is a rather rare species of plant. In fact, what you see is its flower, because the plant grows inside the earth and is parasitic on the roots.
This plant is native to southern Africa and was found by chance by a biologist, Iaguk Vidalsaka. Currently, this plant can also be found in Central and South America.
As for the flower, it blooms out of the ground and you should know that it has a lot of flesh and you don’t want to be near her because the smell she gives off is like poop. It is characterized by having three petals that are orange at first.
The reason for the smell is that it seeks to attract natural pollinators. Specifically, look for dung beetles and other bugs that like the spot. What does he do with them? It catches them, but only for a while, because later it releases them.
This is because it needs those pollinators for the flower to fully bloom. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Flowers are completely red and fleshy. There is no doubt that she is very curious, but no one can resist her for long.
Now, as you know, After the flower, comes the fruit. However, these, like most of the plants, are also underground and they are only produced during the dry season. This can achieve a diameter of 80 mm and the interior can hold up to 20,000 brown seeds stored in a viscous pulp.
Unlike flowers, fruits are used as food, not only for animals but also for humans. It is said that, in addition to being edible, it is quite fragrant and attracts many animals (monkeys, rhinoceros, jackals…). If you’re wondering, we can tell you it tastes very, very sweet, mixed with some starch.
How is the factory “inside”
As we told you before, African Hydnora Flower is a plant where you only see the flower, everything else is buried. However, we know what it looks like (if you saw it, you wouldn’t really think it had flowers or that it was a plant, it looked more like a fungus).
On the one hand, you have the trunk of the tree. This variety is gray-brown in color and has no leaves. It also has no chlorophyll inside. The smallest specimens are lighter brown, and as they become larger, the tone darkens, turning to dark gray and from there to black.
As for the roots, they are known to form around the host plant. The trunk, too, is somewhat wrinkled, fleshy and angular, and connects directly to the roots of the plant. Another point to know is that they can be less than 10mm long, which tells you that they are very close to plants.
how is the flower?
Some more information that you should know about the African Hydnora flower is that, when it comes to the surface, it will have 3-4 “petals”. At first, they bond with each other, but over time they break apart vertically to leave room for bait, which is what attracts the beetles.
Flowers can be about 100-150mm tall.
It also has stamens, only these are inside the perianth. that is, they are not very visible (especially since the tube is about 10-20 mm wide).
How do beetles pollinate flowers?
Do you wonder how they pollinate it? It’s a bit of a “crude” process, but that’s what they do. On the first day, they open those petals to let the bait come in contact. It consists of decomposing white carcasses (made by the same plant species). When the insects smell the smell and approach, the flowers will catch themselves through the stiff bristles that prevent them from escaping.
This way, when they finish eating the bait, the insects are drawn to the flower tube and along the way, they collect the pollen this way until they drop on the stigma and there they pollinate the flower.
It’s the moment when it fully blooms and, although it doesn’t look like a “normal” flower, we have to say it is.
Uses of Hydnora Africana
Even if you think not, the truth is that African Hydnora has many uses. In addition to the fact that the fruit can be eaten and therefore used as food, you should also know that the plant part (parts of a vegetable) can be used to:
Medicine. Specifically to treat diarrhea.
Although it is not common, these uses, especially in Africa, are quite common.
Can you have Hydnora africana as a plant?
Due to the fact that it is so rare, you might wonder if someone could have it in their garden. But we told you this is not normal. First, because it smells bad; and second because we’re talking about a parasitic plant, which means it needs a host to “eat it,” which means sacrificing some plant species.
One of the species that it most often “hooks” is Euphorbias, in the way that it grows next to it and eats it.
Now you know more about Hydnora africana and, although it is not a commercialized or easily found plant, it does have seeds. We don’t think you’d want to have it in your garden, though, as except for its rarity, everything else is sure to keep you coming back. Do you know this plant?