If you like vamping up your office for Halloween by adding various ghoulish touches, these plants can help set the mood
Halloween has become an important date in the UK calendar, with the country set to spend more than £300 million for the occasion this year – a figure which has increased by 3,000% over the last 15 years. The average spend of shoppers preparing for Hallows’ Eve was £33 last year, as 55% of shoppers bought fancy dress for the occasion.
Clearly there is a growing demand for Halloween fun, so why not consider ways of brightening up your home or office with something that could last long after your fangs, face paint, witches hat or fake blood?
Creepy flora could provide your home, garden or office with a touch of the macabre this Halloween, and long after any scary face paint has been washed off, the greenery will continue to look eye-catching throughout winter. Why not get into the Halloween mood with some spirit themed foliage this year. Thankfully, despite their somewhat spooky names, all of these plants are completely harmless.
Ghost: Ghost Plant (Monotropa uniflora)
Unlike most plants, the ghost plant doesn’t produce its energy from sunlight and so doesn’t have chlorophyll. Instead, it’s a parasite, getting its sustenance from other plants. Because it doesn’t need sun, it can grow in dark nooks and crannies.
Skeleton: Chinese Lantern Plant (Physalis alkekengi)
Easily identifiable by the delicate, bright-orange papery covering over its fruit, the Chinese Lantern plant lends itself well to Halloween decoration, resembling lots of small pumpkins. As the fruits age throughout the spring, the cover begins to dry out and waste away, leaving behind a skeleton that looks like a spooky cage trapping the berry.
Vampire: Dracula Orchid (Dracula sergioi)
Dracula orchids, despite their name, actually smell like mushrooms. This helps trick fruit flies that pollinate mushrooms into pollinating them as well. When Spanish scientists first came across these orchids, they were reminded of dragons and bats. If you look directly down the centre of the flower you can see its piranha-like mouth.
Corpse Bride: Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)
The well-known Venus flytrap is carnivorous, dining on insects that wander into its gaping jaw-like leaves. When an insect or spider crawling along the leaves contacts a hair, the trap closes if a different hair is contacted within twenty seconds of the first strike. The carnivorous diet is a very specialised form of feeding and is an adaptation found in several plants from soil poor in nutrients. Their carnivorous traps evolved over time to allow these organisms to survive their harsh environments.
Morbid Medic: Witch Hazel (Hamamelis)
These are popular ornamental plants, grown for their clusters of rich yellow flowers which begin to expand in the autumn and continue throughout the winter. It is thought the use of the plant’s twigs as divining rods by American colonists may have influenced the “witch” part of the name.
Zombie: Cockscomb (Celosia cristata)
These hardy plants are resistant to most diseases and grow equally well indoors or out. They are frequently used as an ornamental plant indoors, even though they resemble a fuzzy brain…
Cat: Devil’s Claw (Proboscidea louisianica)
These plants produce long, hooked seed pods that catch on to the feet of animals. As the animals walk, the pods are crushed open, dispersing the seeds.
Cat’s Whiskers: Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri)
This sinister looking plant can be easily grown from seed as a houseplant.
By Kenneth Freeman, head of innovation at Ambius