Is there anything more miraculous in the world than plantlife? Seeing the sheer variety of flowers, bushes, trees, shrubs, and other greenery is just so beautiful, not to mention important to the ecosystem. Sometimes you come across something so incredible that you just have to share it, and that’s definitely how I felt when I discovered these parrot flowers which look more like tropical birds than plants!
- Parrot flowers are incredibly rare. Known in the scientific community as Impatiens psittacina, parrot flowers are actually a species of basalm from Southeast Asia. The plant can be found in parts of India and Burma but are most common in Thailand. They weren’t formally discovered until about 1900 by Joseph Dalton Hooker, who actually referred to them as “cockatoo basalm.”
- Outside of the areas they’re grown natively, they’re really hard to get. While with most flowers and other plants, you can buy seeds online or in a local garden center to grow your own, Thailand has outlawed exportation of the plants or their seeds, making parrot flowers even harder to get a hold of. There is a bit of a black market for the seeds because of this, but most of us will never get our hands on them.
- They need an extremely hot and wet climate. This is why they grow so well in rainforests — it’s the perfect conditions for the parrot flowers to thrive in. Because of this, even if you could get a hold of the plants in other parts of the world, it’d be very unlikely that you would be able to cultivate them or that they would live very long.
- No one knows how they pollinate. Not understanding a plant’s pollination is another reason that parrot flowers are so hard to grow outside of their native climate. It’s been suggested that a bat or a bird with a long tongue may be responsible but so far, it’s a mystery.
- The plant itself isn’t all that pretty. While the parrot flower blooms themselves are gorgeous, the bush they’re part of grows up to six feet tall and rather unremarkable otherwise. Huh, go figure!