Thanks to Shakespeare It’s most common to compare the beauty of a lover to a flower. Flowers have an ethereal and fleeting beauty incomparable to anything else in the world, the exception being those in the first flush of love. But unfortunately, many rare flowers in the world have already gone extinct in the wild and only exist in some pockets, thanks to the efforts of botanists and conservationists and might be available either in select places in the wild or in botanical gardens. The list also includes those flowers that bloom only once every few decades and those that require certain conditions to bloom, making them unique.
There are flowers that are rare because they have been bred a certain way over a period of years, like the rarest rose in the world, the Juliet Rose.
Anything rare and beautiful always draws crowds, people who travel great distances for a rare sighting of a rare bloom or to catch a glimpse of some unique flowers.
Also read: 11 beautiful places to see flowers in spring
15 Rare Flowers In The World And What Makes Them So
1. Juliet Rose (Scientific Name Unknown): The Rarest Rose In The World
The Juliet Rose is not only considered to be one of the rarest flowers in the world, but it’s also the rarest rose in the world because it took 15 years for rose breeder David Austin to cultivate the flower in England. Additionally, it cost him a whopping $4.3 million to do so. A type of tea rose, the Juliet Rose has peach and apricot coloured petals. In full bloom, they open to reveal smaller blooms at the heart.
Some fun facts about Juliet Roses:
- It debuted in the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show in London in 2006.
2. Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax Lindenii): Florida’s Endangered Flower
Named after the shape of its petals, the Ghost Orchid is listed as one of the rare flowers of the world because it requires high temperatures and high humidity to grow, making it almost impossible to cultivate outside its natural habitat.
The plant has no leaves, does not depend on photosynthesis, and does not manufacture its own food. It has to be linked with another plant to get sufficient energy. The stem and flowers appear green in colour with whitish petals.
Ghost Orchids are found in Cuba, Florida and the Bahamas, and bloom only for three weeks between April and August. Even if you get close enough to the flower, you may not be able to spot a Ghost Orchid. The fact that most of its natural habitat is getting destroyed makes the Ghost Orchid even rarer.
Some fun facts about Ghost Orchids:
- The ghost orchid is a rare flower that gives off a soap-like odour when in bloom.
3. Fire Lily (Gloriosa Superba): Zimbabwe’s National Flower
While the Fire Lily, also known as the Flame Lily, is not that rare a flower, it’s quickly becoming endangered in some countries. The Fire Lily is a distinct trumpet-shaped flower with red and orange-yellow coloured petals, making it look like flames.
These flowers are native to Asia and tropical parts of Africa. It’s now rare in Sri Lanka and close to extinction in Odisha, making it a very rare flower in India. It’s also considered an invasive species in countries like Australia, Cook Islands, and French Polynesia. While these flowers are found in the wild, they are also known to pop up in people’s yards.
Some fun facts about Fire Lilies:
- It is toxic to humans and can also cause skin irritation.
- It can grow up to 12 feet tall.
- It’s used for medicinal purposes.
4. Chocolate Cosmos (Cosmos Atrosanguineus): The Flower That Smells Like Fresh Chocolate
The Chocolate Cosmos has earned its place on the list of rare flowers of the world as it has been extinct in the wild for years. As one of the most beautiful rare flowers in the world, the Chocolate Cosmos is a rich reddish-brown in colour and gives off a rich chocolate fragrance when it blooms, hence its name. It grows to about 40 to 70 centimetres in height.
This red flower is native to Mexico, however as mentioned before, they no longer exist in the wild. The beautiful flower does not produce any seeds and needs to be grown with the help of tissue culture or root division. Technically, only clones of the original flower survive today.
Some fun facts about the Chocolate Cosmos:
- The Chocolate Cosmos blooms in the evening at the end of summer.
- It’s been reproduced through propagation since 1902.
- Areas, where these flowers grow, are protected by law.
5. Kadupul Flower (Epiphyllum Oxypetalum): The Queen Of The Night
The Kadupul Flower is a cactus blossom that rarely blooms, and is therefore considered as one of the rare flowers in the world. Not only that, but it also blooms only at night and withers away by daybreak.
Kadupul flowers are large and beautiful, snowy white and star-shaped. It grows mainly in the wild, among decaying matter around trees, and can measure a massive 30 centimetres long and 17 centimetres wide. It also emits a pleasant smell. While some report that this flower grows only in Sri Lanka, others say that the Kadupul Flower can also be found in India, Japan, China and several Latin American countries. It is, however, close to impossible to find one in the wild, as it blooms rarely and only at night, and so spotting it is difficult. It’s said to be very beautiful and a truly rare flower to behold, making it a unique flower in India and the other regions. These flowers require specific conditions to grow in and are very expensive owing to their short lifespan. However, they are easy to cultivate.
Some fun facts about Kadupul flowers:
- The Kadupul flower has a history with Japan where it is known as Gekka Bijin or “beauty under the moon”.
6. Corpse Flower (Titan Arum): The Flower With The Most Foul Smell
The blossom of the titan arum
The Corpse Flower is known as one of the rarest flowers in the world because it blooms just once in a few decades. As it can reach up to 3.6 meters in height, it’s also known as one of the largest flowers in the world. This flower has no roots, leaves or even a stem. Moreover, it seems to have only one petal, which is green on the outside and burgundy red on the inside and is shaped like a cone. When the corpse flower is in bloom it emits a foul odour, similar to that of rotting flesh or rotten meat, to attract flies and carrion beetles.
Corpse Flowers are found only in the low-lying rainforests of Indonesia. In captivity, they grow mainly in Sumatra gardens in Sumatra.
Some fun facts about the Corpse flower:
- The corpse flower is so rare, blooming once in a few decades, that flocks of people gather at botanical gardens to see and smell them. It seems strange that people are willing to spend time and energy to smell something like rotten meat, isn’t it?
7. Jade Vine (Strongylodon Macrobotrys): Member Of The Pea And Bean Family
The Jade Vine is considered as one of the rarest flowers in the world because deforestation has driven it close to extinction. The Jade Vine is a claw-shaped flower and can grow up to 3 metres long. It varies in colour from blue to light green and hangs facing downward. A member of the pea and bean family, the Jade Vine is native to rainforests in the Philippines. These flowers are quickly moving towards extinction as they are difficult to propagate in captivity. They rely primarily on bats for pollination.
Some fun facts about the Jade Vine:
- They reportedly have a luminous quality at twilight.
8. Middlemist’s Red (Middlemist Camellia): Only Two Samples Of This Flower Exist In The World
The Middlemist Red is one of the rarest and most beautiful flowers in the world; so much so, that only two of its samples exist today. The flower was evidently wiped out of existence in its native China sometime after it was brought to the United Kingdom. While there is no concrete explanation for why the plant went extinct in the wild, it is believed that over-cultivation might have had a key role.
The Middlemist Red is a beautiful flower that looks like a rose and is bright pink (contrary to what the name suggests). Although it looks like a rose, the Middlemist’s red is actually a type of Camellia flower. A native of China, it was brought to London in 1804. It’s now extinct in China, and only two known remaining Middlemist Red flowers are growing in captivity—one in a botanical garden in New Zealand and the other in a greenhouse in England.
Some fun facts about the Middlemist’s Red:
- This red camellia flower was brought to England by a botanist named John Middlemist, giving it its name.
- John Middlemist had sold quite a few of these beauties to the public when he first introduced them in the United Kingdom. So, there might be more of the Middlemist’s Red in gardens, unbeknownst to others.
9. The Franklin Tree Flower (Franklinia Alatamaha): One-of-a-kind Only Species Of The Franklinia Genus
The Franklin Tree Flower is listed among the rare flowers in the world as it has been extinct in the wild since the early 1800s.
It’s a beautiful five-petalled white flower with clusters of golden yellow stamens in the centre. This cup-shaped flower belongs to the tea family and is one-of-a-kind as it is the only of the Franklinia genus. The plant has dark green leaves which turn red in autumn. The flowers give off a sweet honeysuckle-like scent.
Native to the Altamaha River valley in Georgia, a southeastern US state, this flower no longer grows in the wild. However, it is a popular garden plant. It is speculated that the plant went extinct in the wild due to a fungal disease.
Some fun facts the Franklin Tree Flower:
- All the Franklin Tree Flowers in existence today, come from the seeds that were collected in the 1700s.
- It was first discovered in 1765.
10. Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedilum Rothschildianum): Gold Of Kinabalu
The Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid is considered one of the rarest flowers in the world as it is very difficult to find, given that it not only grows at altitudes above 1,640 feet, it also takes 15 years to bloom. It’s so rare that it’s now worth thousands of dollars on the black market.
The Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid is one of five types of Slipper Orchids (the name comes from the lower lip of the flower that resembles a slipper), which again is a sub-category of the orchid family. It has long yellow and black or reddish striped petals. What makes the Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid a unique flower among the orchid family is that two thin petals grow horizontally from the centre.
Native to the Borneo island in Malaysia, the Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid can only grow in the rainforests of Mount Kinabalu. It grows between altitudes of 1,640 and 3,930 feet above sea level. You can see these flowers in a fenced-off area of the Kinabalu National Park in April and May, which is its flowering season.
Some fun facts about the Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid:
- One stem is worth up to $5,000 on the black market.
11. Parrot’s Beak (Lotus Berthelotii): Winner Of The Award Of Garden Merit
The Parrot’s Beak Flower is rare because it requires specific temperatures to bloom in; any fluctuation causes it to wither. It’s also believed to be extinct in the wild, much like most of the flowers on this list. Only a few members of this species of flower exist today; many might go extinct in the wild soon, making it one of the rarest flowers in the world. It is reported that the flower began to disappear (from the wild) in 1884.
Parrot’s Beaks are claw-shaped flowers that grow on trailing vines and are found in striking orange and red colours. They are known to measure up to one inch long. They resemble a parrot’s beak, hence the name.
Native to the Canary and Cape Verde Islands, these flowers are believed to be extinct in the wild but they can be cultivated in gardens, as well as indoors. These days they are typically grown for ornamental purposes.
The Parrot’s Beak blooms best in spring and requires a lot of sunshine (it may not bloom, or fewer flowers will bloom if grown in the shade) and cool temperatures. It also requires well-drained but moist soil as the roots can rot if not properly drained.
Some fun facts about the Parrot’s Beak Flower:
- It won the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.
- It’s also known as Coral Gem, Pelican’s Beak, Cat Claw, Lotus Vine, and Pigeon Beak.
12. Koki’o (Hibiscus Arnottianus): The Lovely And Rare Island Hibiscus
The Koki’o, especially its immaculatus species, is a rare breed as it’s only found in certain wet mountainous forest areas. Add to that, it’s incredibly tricky to find, landing it on the list of rare flowers in the world.
The Hibiscus arnottianus subspecies immaculatus has large beautiful white flowers, measuring 10.16 centimetres in diameter, that gives off a pleasant fragrance. The plant is a shrub that grows up to 457 centimetres to 609 centimetres tall.
While the Hibiscus arnottianus or the Koki’o is found on the Oahu and Moloka’i islands of Hawaii, the Hibiscus arnottianus subspecies immaculatus is only found on the Moloka’i island.
Some fun facts about Koki’o:
- These flowers are easy to grow from fresh seeds, but hybridise easily, causing the seedlings to differ from their parents.
13. Black Bat Flower (Tacca Chantrieri): The Rarest Black Flower
The Black Bat Flower is the most unique flower in the world because it has the rarest flower colour, black. Measuring up to 30 centimetres in diameter, the flower resembles a bat, which is how it got its name. It has long droopy whisker-like stamens, which can measure up to 70 centimetres long.
The Black Bat Flower is found in Southeast Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, and southern China. The plant needs a lot of humidity and a large amount of water until it grows properly, which makes it a difficult plant to grow indoors. It is possible to make it a houseplant, but the average household environment is too dry and cool for it to thrive.
Some fun facts about Black Bat Flowers:
- It is a member of the yam family.
- It has a recently discovered relative known as the White Bat Flower.
- There is a superstition that the evil eye will start following you if you look at these bat-shaped flowers for too long.
14. Gibraltar Campion (Silene Tomentosa): The Pride Of Britain
This species of rare and beautiful flower is only found in Gibraltar and was thought to be extinct in the wild. However, these beautiful flowers were found in the British Overseas Territory’s Upper Rock Nature Preserve in 1994. Since then, the Campions are artificially grown at the Almeda Gibraltar Botanic Gardens and in the Royal Botanic Gardens of London.
Fun Facts About Gibraltar Campion:
- The flowers on this plant range in colour from violet to bright pink.
- This mid-scented flower is protected under the Nature Protection Act of 1991 by the Law of Gibraltar.
- The Gibraltar Campion plant is capable to grow about 40 cm.
15. Youtan Poluo (Scientific Name Unknown): Blooms Every 3,000 Years
Native to China and Taiwan, Youtan Poluo is a parasitic tiny flower which was actually found growing in Viet Linh on an aroid palm leaf. These rare white flowers don’t have a scientific name and are said to bloom once every 3,000 years. Measuring no more than 1 millimetre in diameter, Youtan Poluo is commonly known as Udumbara. The flowers were mentioned in Buddhist scriptures and in 2010, were discovered in the home of a nun in Lushan Mountain in China’s Jiangxi province.
Some Facts About Youtan Poluo:
- This rare flower emits mild yet noticeable sandalwood-like fragrance.
- According to the Buddhist scriptures, these flowers symbolize immortality.
- The looking of Youtan Poluo flower is believed to mark the arrival of a future king or the reincarnation of the Buddha.
- The word ‘Udumabara’ in Sanskrit means, auspicious flowers descending from heaven.
How Fascinating Are Some Of These Unique Flowers?
Almost all of the flowers listed above are either extinct in the wild or in the process of being driven to extinction. By letting such beautiful and unique flowers die, we are not only depriving the future generation of witnessing their beauty and mystique, but we are also doing irreparable damage to the ecology and environment. While a few may be protected by law, most aren’t. However, not all hope is lost. By promoting awareness about these rare and beautiful flowers, we can put in care and work towards saving them from further and more permanent extinction.
FAQs About Rare Flowers
Rare flowers can be those that only bloom under specific conditions or found at specific destinations under the right ecological conditions or are only rarely found growing in the wild.
The Middlemist Red is the rarest flower in the world.
There are many unique flowers in the world such as Juliet Rose, Ghost Orchid, Middlemist Red and Youtan Poluo.