Rare Vegetables That Can Be Grown At Home

Are you tired of planting the same old carrots, tomatoes, and squash in your garden every year? Would you like to try growing something a little more exotic this season? You may be surprised at the wide range of unusual or rare vegetables that can be grown right in your own backyard.

Give some of these plants a try and see what results you get. Once you see how easy it is to grow a wide variety of rare plants in your yard, you will never be content with the same standard varieties again.

Chayote Squash

Hailing from Mexico, the chayote squash grows on a vine that needs support, so a fence or a trellis is required. This perennialChayote plant produces a good crop of mild-tasting squash that are shaped like a pear. They are good in soups or served on a taco with cheese and salsa.

If you live in a colder climate, be sure to keep it warm by using plenty of mulch in the winter. Since they hail from a warmer climate, they are not terribly hardy plants.

Prickly Pear (Nopal)

Another interesting vegetable that hails from Mexico and Central America is the nopal, or prickly pear. This type of cactus produces thick, paddle-shaped leaves that can grow up to 8 inches in length or more. They taste somewhat like bell peppers or green beans, but have a texture more like okra.Prickly Pears

Before eating, of course, the thorns need to be peeled off. The plant grows best in dry, mild conditions. To start your own plant, just remove a paddle, allow a callus to form, and then place it in the ground. Be sure to use gloves to protect your hands from the thorns when harvesting the leaves!

Burdock Root

This crunchy root vegetable is popular in Japan and other Asian countries. Known as “gobo,” it is a common ingredient in stir fries, soups, and stews. It is hard and crunchy, but has a sweet and somewhat earthy taste.

Fresh Burdock rootsBurdock root can also be pickled and used as an ingredient in salads. Thinly sliced, it is a nice addition to miso soup or a stew.

The seeds should be sown in spring or summer, and the roots will be ready to harvest after three months or so. Be sure to wear gloves when you are harvesting the roots, since the leaves can irritate your skin. After the winter, you should get one more season of productivity before you will need to plant a new crop.

Malabar Spinach

Despite its name, this is not actually a tyMalabar Spinach (basella Alba)pe of spinach. Instead, it is a vine that grows in India and Bangladesh and is a popular ingredient in the cuisines of these countries. When eaten raw, the leaves have a peppery flavor with a hint of orange. Once they are cooked, their flavor more closely resembles that of spinach.

The plant tends to thrive best in hot conditions that resemble those of its native home. It will grow in cooler conditions, but does so more slowly. It is resistant to frost and grows best on a trellis or arbor.

Purslane

This may be the only vegetable on this list that you have growing in your yard already. Commonly regarded as a weed, purslane is actually a tasty and nutritious herb that is widely used in many cuisines, from Mexico to France. Dried PurslaneIt contains high levels of vitamins A and C, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.

Because of its weedy nature, purslane is very easy to grow. Once you have planted it, you need pay it little attention. It grows best in hot, wet conditions, and you may need to prune it to keep it under control.

5 Of The Weirdest, Most Bizarre Plants On Earth

The Earth is a green planet, filled with many different species of plants. Plants live in virtually every environment, from the Arctic to the oceans, and we pass by thousands of different types every day. While many of these plants seem perfectly ordinary to us, there are also many species that are truly bizarre and strange.

While some of these plants live in far-off parts of the world, others can be seen surprisingly close to home. You may also be able to see specimens at a conservatory or a garden center. These plants truly demonstrate the diversity of God’s creation.

1. The Skunk Cabbage

skunk cabbageHave you ever been taking a hike and been sure that you smelled a skunk? What you smelled may actually have been a skunk cabbage, which is a North American plant that grows in swamps and other wet areas. The plant has huge flowers that are purple or yellow in color, and it looks like something from outer space.

Parts of the plant are edible and were used for food by Native Americans. However, other parts, such as the flowerheads, contain a deadly poison called calcium oxalate. This corrosive toxin can cause severe injury or even death.

2. The Giant Hogweed

Giant HogweedThis invasive weed is spreading through many parts of the United States and poses a real danger to people. The sap exuded by the hogweed can cause a dangerous reaction when it is exposed to sunlight. Getting some sap on your skin can cause lesions and burns as soon as you go out in the sun. These wounds can sometimes take years to heal!

3. The Corpse Flower

corpse flowerTitan arum, known as the “corpse flower,” is not actually a single flower, but is a stalk made of many tiny flowers. It can grow up to a height of 10 to 15 feet and blooms only once every 7 years. When the flower blooms, it produces an intense smell that resembles the odor of rotting flesh, which gives it its name. The flowers are the largest in the world.

4. The Rafflesias Flower

This is another flower that is legendary for its intense odor. The Rafflesias grows in the jungles of Southeast Asia and can reach a size of as much as 4 feet Rafflesias Flowerin diameter. Unlike the “corpse flower,” these plants are parasitic and lives off the nutrients that it absorbs from other plants.

The odor produced by the flower is intended to attract carrion beetles. These beetles come to the flower and pollinate it, just as bees pollinate many other species of plants.

5. The Bristlecone Pine

The bristlecone pine tree grows in the arid conditions of the American West. Some of these trees are the oldest living organisms on Earth. The age of one tree has been calculated at more than 5000 years!

Bristlecone PineBristlecone pines can tolerate soil conditions that very few other plants can live in. This means that they are capable of thriving in areas that are often quite barren and lifeless. They can grow in alkaline soils, and they are also quite tolerant to wind, cold, and aridity. Because of the poor conditions in these areas, they tend to grow very slowly.

As you can see, the world is filled with bizarre and unusual plants. Even in your own backyard, there may be plants growing that are a lot stranger than you might think. These 5 species are just a small sample of the many strange plants in the world. The next time you go outside, pay attention to the plants you pass by. You never know what you might see!