Whatever you’re looking for out there in this big world, it must be on the internet. Even if you don’t even know the thing yourself, and in that case, the chances are you end up on Reddit.

It’s basically an online home of detectives who will use their joint effort to come up with a solid explanation for what is an object that you have no clue about. Known as r/Whatisthisthing, this community has 2M members and they help others with not necessarily the “why” but with the “what.” Read our previous posts about it here, here and here.

And then, there’s this similarly awesome corner of Reddit with a botanical twist of hard-to-identify objects. Welcome to r/Whatsthisplant, a community of people created to identify plants that visitors submit. And let me tell you, this is one hell of a floral encyclopedia you never knew you needed. Scroll down through the best posts of mysterious plants explained and be sure to hit upvote on your favorite ones!

#1

What's This Curly Cactus?

What's This Curly Cactus?

Cereus forbesii cv Spiralis

black_rose_ Report

birdie
Community Member
2 months ago

fusilli

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To find out more about the incredible world of rare plants, we reached out to Marc Hachadourian, the Director Of Glasshouse Horticulture and Senior Curator Of Orchids at The New York Botanical Garden who shared some very interesting insights.

“Even after nearly 30 years of study and practice in horticulture I am always learning about new plants and encountering species or varieties I did not even know existed,” Hachadourian told us. “Whether in my travels abroad to see plants in their natural habitats or visiting other botanical gardens, there are always new plants that I have never seen before.”

#2

What Are These Flowers?

What Are These Flowers?

They are salvia but the cat is wildly distracting

sadrice Report

Raven Sheridan
Community Member
2 months ago

Also, Felisa Catus Floofus. 😉

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#3

What Is This Whimsical Little Vine In Atlanta?

What Is This Whimsical Little Vine In Atlanta?

Ampelopsis brevipedunculata, “porcelain berry” or “Amur peppervine”

moops04 Report

Lord Mysticlaw
Community Member
2 months ago

That's obviously from an Easter egg tree

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For Hachadourian, “one of the most wonderful aspects of working with plants is this thrill of discovering and learning something new or exciting. Even though I regularly help people identify plants there are still many plants out there I don’t know.” He added that sometimes it takes a significant amount of time researching, consulting with other experts, and digging through images and texts to get an identification for an unknown plant.

#4

What Is This Alien Looking Flower?

What Is This Alien Looking Flower?

Puya bromeliad

Luckydog12 Report

PandaJon
Community Member
2 months ago

Christmas Treeus

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#5

What Kind Of Tree Is This?

What Kind Of Tree Is This?

Wisteria

thephatangel Report

Shelli LotusFlower
Community Member
2 months ago

Vines love to creep under houses..porches. Not practical if you have an ex buried in the garden. So I’ve heard.

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#6

What Flower Is This? Found On Facebook With No Context

What Flower Is This? Found On Facebook With No Context

Geum Reptans rose

Raz1230 Report

Hermione
Community Member
2 months ago

Something you eat at a carnival?

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 The Director Of Glasshouse Horticulture at The New York Botanical Garden said that when it comes to new varieties of plants for our homes and gardens, they are developed differently. “Some plants are chance mutations – one-of-a-kind changes that create a form, color, or type of growth never before seen. These plants can be dwarf or miniature forms, variegated plants with colored or patterned foliage, or leaf or flower shapes different from the norm.”

Meanwhile, other plants are created through hybridization, where breeders combine varieties of plants hoping to create something new and different. “These hybrids might be a color that doesn’t exist naturally or a form or type that would be considered an ideal standard for a particular plant, like a rose with a strong fragrance or an unusual color of orchid. With advances in science, new varieties can also be created in the laboratory by manipulating genes even between unrelated plant species to develop new types of plants that were once only imaginable,” Hachadourian explained.

#7

Found This Growing Voluntarily Over My Dog's Grave

Found This Growing Voluntarily Over My Dog's Grave

Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica)

JoRHawke Report

Yvonne Dauwalder Balsiger
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

That flower is a fitting symbol of the beautiful memories you no doubt have of your dog

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#8

Found In Ventura, Ca. Anyone Know What This Is?

Found In Ventura, Ca. Anyone Know What This Is?

Geraldton Carnationweed, Carnation Spurge (Euphorbia terracina)

Wilmoire Report

Susie Elle
Community Member
2 months ago

Obviously it's someone's tea platter

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#9

What’s This Trippy Fella Called?

What’s This Trippy Fella Called?

Cercis canadensis The Rising Sun Eastern Redbud

Release1975 Report

DUN DUN (she/her)
Community Member
2 months ago

3D Pixel Tree

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Hachadourian told us that at the New York Botanical Garden, they cultivate many rare plants indoors and out in their collections. “There has been much talk in the media about ‘rare plants’ lately, especially plants currently selling for high prices between collectors worldwide. I do not like to assign dollar values to our plants because it is impossible to calculate the actual value of a historic scientific collection, a naturally rare species, or a 200-year-old oak tree when it comes to rare plants.”

According to him, “each plant has its own intrinsic value for science, education, history, beauty, or conservation, worth far more than any monetary amount calculated for a living thing. The term ‘rare’ is frequently overused and misapplied to increase the perceived monetary value of a plant.” 

#10

What Is This Satisfying Succulent?

What Is This Satisfying Succulent?

Ice plant (Corpuscularia lehmannii)

EffectiveEggplant1 Report

Scagsy
Community Member
2 months ago

Is it from Minecraft? Because it looks like it's from Minecraft.

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#11

Beautiful Picture My Friend Sent Me To Identify

Beautiful Picture My Friend Sent Me To Identify

Santa Rita prickly pear

mixed-episodes Report

Alexia
Community Member
2 months ago

Now when you pick a pawpaw or a prickly pear / And you prick a raw paw - well, next time beware / Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw / When you pick a pear try to use the claw / But you don't need to use the claw / When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw :))

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#12

What A Beautiful...?? What Is This

What A Beautiful...?? What Is This

Caladium

RoseRoss186 Report

Chris Kane
Community Member
2 months ago

Damn this looks like a painting

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Moreover, Hachadourian said that when communicating about their collections, he has tried “to avoid using ‘rare’ unless the statement is defined (ex. rare in cultivation, rare in collections) or for wild plants, the words threatened or endangered are terms used to qualify a plant’s risk of extinction.”

Hachadourian continued: “We cultivate a wide range of plants that could be sold for high monetary values but are less ‘rare’ than endangered or threatened species in our collections. In our glasshouse collections, rare plants include the miniature water lily Nymphaea thermarum, which until recently was considered extinct in the wild, or Osa pulchra, a beautiful flowering tree only known from a couple of dozen plants in its native habitat. Our outdoor collections have ancient oaks over 250 years old or specimens of the pumpkin ash (Fraxinus profunda), a critically endangered species naturally found in our old-growth forest.”

He concluded that “as a botanical garden, part of our larger mission is to educate and communicate the true value of plant biodiversity beyond the financial value of buying or selling a ‘rare’ plant.”

#13

What Is This Beautiful Tree?

What Is This Beautiful Tree?

Rainbow Eucalyptus

crispychickenadhd Report

DennyS (denzoren)
Community Member
2 months ago

I remember the first time I saw this on campus I was so amazed. We were doing out dendrology unit and had to go around finding the trees listed. The picture, while awesome, doesn't do it justice, it is very vibrant in person.

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#14

Found Online But I'm Curious To Know Which Plant Makes These Leaves

Found Online But I'm Curious To Know Which Plant Makes These Leaves

Jack's Giant or Thailand Giant

Contrenox Report

malenchki
Community Member
2 months ago

TOTORO

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#15

Would Like Know What Plant Makes These Flowers

Would Like Know What Plant Makes These Flowers

Camellia japonica 'pink perfection'

Magporca Report

Robert T
Community Member
2 months ago

Gorgeous until we get a late frost. Just put one in the garden and is was flowering beautfully, then we get a little cold snap, and its looking a little sorry for itself. Cold has also had the magnolias at other places round town.

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#16

Seen In Santa Monica, Ca. I Couldn’t Get Any Closer But It Looks Gorgeous!!

Seen In Santa Monica, Ca. I Couldn’t Get Any Closer But It Looks Gorgeous!!

Bougainvillea

arkwl Report

PandaJon
Community Member
2 months ago

Whatever it is, it's eating that car

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#17

Very General White Flowers. All Help Is Appreciated!

Very General White Flowers. All Help Is Appreciated!

Saxifraga Arendsii

distinct--shuffle Report

Anaïs
Community Member
2 months ago

this picture is be-au-tiiiii-fuuuullll

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#18

From The Japanese Garden In Singapore

From The Japanese Garden In Singapore

Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

blabgasm Report

XenoMurph
Community Member
2 months ago

It's amazing the way the stamen imitates the kingfisher so perfectly.

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#19

What's This Bush?

What's This Bush?

Cotinus, aka smoke bush

ColourMeCrazyDoctor Report

PandaJon
Community Member
2 months ago

Spectacular colors

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#20

My Friends Parents Have A Red Rose Bush Where On One Particular Branch It Blooms These Beauties

My Friends Parents Have A Red Rose Bush Where On One Particular Branch It Blooms These Beauties

Chimera Rose

dishsoapalmighty Report

DUN DUN (she/her)
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

I have seen this happen to my hibiscus flowers!!

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#21

So I Found These Little Fluffballs. Not Sure What They're Called! Location: Somewhere In Nunavut

So I Found These Little Fluffballs. Not Sure What They're Called! Location: Somewhere In Nunavut

Cotton grass, aka tundra cotton

clarifrench Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
2 months ago

True Fact, this is where sheep come from, they are actually a plant not an animal.

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#22

What's This Majestic Tree? (Must Be A Zillion Years Old?!)

What's This Majestic Tree? (Must Be A Zillion Years Old?!)

Sterculia apetala

canihavesome Report

PandaJon
Community Member
2 months ago

Oh, that's Melvin

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#23

Found In Holland, Mi. It's Adorable Whatever It Is!

Found In Holland, Mi. It's Adorable Whatever It Is!

Chinese lanterns

donja77 Report

lenka
Community Member
2 months ago

I have always called these Cape Gooseberries. Is it the same plant by a different name or are there different varieties in the family?

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#24

Moved To A New House This Winter And This Beauty Is Welcoming The Spring. Portland, Oregon

Moved To A New House This Winter And This Beauty Is Welcoming The Spring. Portland, Oregon

Pink Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida var. rubra

serafino23 Report

Kindlovinghumble
Community Member
2 months ago

These are extremely gorgeous in person!

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#25

My Sister's Boyfriend Gave Her This Flower

My Sister's Boyfriend Gave Her This Flower

Ornamental cabbage

Saturnoz87 Report

Susie Elle
Community Member
2 months ago

MY CABBAGES

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#26

This Beautiful Two Toned Rose In My Garden. I Have Never Seen This Before

This Beautiful Two Toned Rose In My Garden. I Have Never Seen This Before

Rose Joseph's Coat

trieuvanvccvv Report

A.J Milne
Community Member
2 months ago

Top ten things I would eat 1. Joseph's coat

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#27

Found In Florida, Appears To Be From Whoville, What Is This Tree?

Found In Florida, Appears To Be From Whoville, What Is This Tree?

Ponytail palm, Beaucarnea recurvata

runningfox3 Report

Katie Lutesinger
Community Member
2 months ago

Time to make some thneeds!

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#28

Central Florida

Central Florida

Manihot grahamii (Hardy Tapioca)

The_karma4ya Report

Kindlovinghumble
Community Member
2 months ago

Looks like a kid got busy with some scissors :)

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#29

Anyone Know This One?

Anyone Know This One?

Echeveria bloom

harleylover2106 Report

A.J Milne
Community Member
2 months ago

Looks edible. Is it edible? I am hungry, so it must be edible!

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#30

Translucent Blue And Green Succulent (That I Have Never Seen Before)

Translucent Blue And Green Succulent (That I Have Never Seen Before)

Haworthia cooperi, Cooper's Haworthia

devi1duck Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
2 months ago

Looks like they are growing into pods. "Look, you fools. You're in danger. Can't you see? They're after you. They're after all of us. Our wives, our children, everyone. They're here already. YOU'RE NEXT!"

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#31

Tree In India

Tree In India

Fishtail Palm

indicamon Report

PandaJon
Community Member
2 months ago

It's got a hair extension

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#32

Saw This Beauty Dropping My Kid Off On The First Day Is School. What Is This Tree Called. She’s Stunning

Saw This Beauty Dropping My Kid Off On The First Day Is School. What Is This Tree Called. She’s Stunning

Golden dewdrop, Duranta erecta

hp5al Report

A.J Milne
Community Member
2 months ago

We use this tree to make pearl necklaces😃

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#33

What Is This Fruit/Vegetable?

What Is This Fruit/Vegetable?

Perfume Wax Apple

gangoat Report

Hermione
Community Member
2 months ago

Canine Circumferenca.

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#34

Can Anyone Tell Me What Is The Name Of This Beautiful Birdlike Plant?

Can Anyone Tell Me What Is The Name Of This Beautiful Birdlike Plant?

Cyanotis tuberosa, Greater Cat Ears or Dew Grass

palatino007 Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
2 months ago

Have they evolved to look like birds for some reason? Or is it just pareidolia?

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#35

Random Plant That Has Shown Up In My Garden For The First Time

Random Plant That Has Shown Up In My Garden For The First Time

Crocus

L4N3Y Report

Susie Elle
Community Member
2 months ago

In The Netherlands these grow all over the place

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#36

Wildflower On A Countryside Trail In Daylesford, Australia

Wildflower On A Countryside Trail In Daylesford, Australia

Forget me nots

manlikerealities Report

Susie Elle
Community Member
2 months ago

Don't pick them >:( (well, I guess it's not the end of the world, but still)

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#37

What Is This Plant? My Friend Ate One Of The Red Pods And I'm Concerned

What Is This Plant? My Friend Ate One Of The Red Pods And I'm Concerned

Possibly cycad seed pod. I think your friend should go see a doctor.

dldaniel123 Report

Mazer
Community Member
2 months ago

Agreed, the seeds are toxic

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#38

What Are These Beach Flowers? Ignore The Elephant Seal

What Are These Beach Flowers? Ignore The Elephant Seal

Ice plant

VacuousVoid Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
2 months ago

Someone does not want to get up for work.

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#39

Apparently It's A Fern!

Apparently It's A Fern!

Cyrtomium falcatum rochefordianum

thestrible Report

Brivid
Community Member
2 months ago

I don't know what this is but it is not Cyrtomium falcatum rochefordianum.

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#40

What Is This Plant Object Found In Commercial Chickpea Can?

What Is This Plant Object Found In Commercial Chickpea Can?

Cocklebur (Xanthium), which is toxic.

goodgollymsdolly Report

Mari
Community Member
2 months ago

Wow! Lucky you saw it.

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Note: this post originally had 81 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.