June 25, 2010
June 25 - Hydnora africana
Hydnora africana is a parasitic plant that grows on the roots of euphorbs in Africa. For the most part, it grows entirely underground and lacks chlorophyll or leaves. When sufficient rain has fallen, the plant may then poke up a large, but slowly-developing flower that is bright orange. It releases a horrible, putrid odor that attracts dung and carrion beetles, which it traps inside the flower so that they pollinate it. The fruits, known as "jackal fruits" because jackals will readily consume them, are also enjoyed by people, particularly after they have been roasted over a fire. The fruits are also used to treat diarrhea and dysentery and even acne.