The brain is an intricate web of worm-like lobes which control everything from our memory, thoughts and decisions, movements and automation of our organs. This complex system in all its eminence makes it just as much more fascinating when we see its design occurring naturally in the wild!
From the colorful swirling patterns of a sunflower to the intricate design of a snowflake, nature is full of wonders that highlight the beauty of the human brain.
In this post, we will dive specifically into flowers and plants, ones of which look almost identical to this important organ of ours.
More on this category:
- Plants That Look Like Dill
- Weeds That Look Like Strawberry Plants
- Plants That Look Like Dandelion Leaves
10 Flowers That Look Like a Brain
1. Scabiosa atropurpurea-
Known as well as the “pincushion flower” or “sweet scabious”, this beautiful flower can be found in a variety of colors, ranging from blue to white, pink and purple, and is native to the continents of Europe and Asia. Scabiosa atropurpurea thrives in partial shade or full sun. It prefers moderate temperatures and needs well-draining, rich soil. This plant also requires frequent watering and regular fertilizer applications.
2. Celosia cristata-
Another name for this species of flower is cockscomb or, more literally “brain flower”. Its comb-like, tousled appearance makes it one of the most brain-like flowers there is!
You can find this species of flower in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, such as Africa, Asia and South America. They also grow in a wide range of colors, from red, yellow, pink and orange, to cooler colors like purple.
Celosia cristata prefers warm temperatures and full sun to produce flowers. They also grow well in well-draining, fertile, moist soil. Despite being resistant to pests and diseases, the cockscomb plants can be infested by spider mites, aphids, and powdery mildew.
3. Tanacetum Densum ssp. Amani-
Also known as the Partridge Feather, this flower looks like a mix of brain and sea coral. Native to Morocco and a member of the aster family, this flower is also characterized by its spiky “feathered” appearance, hence its name. You can find this flower growing in white, blue, pink and purple.
4. Nelumbo nucifera-
This next one is a little more well-known. Everyone knows of the tranquil and sacred lotus. The national flower of India and used as a symbol for peace and serenity, the lotus once awakened opens up to face the world with many different petals and facets (similar to our brain).
Found predominantly in white, pink and blue, the name lotus is derived from the Greek word for ‘lily’.
5. Tanacetum Bipinnatum-
Also called the Dune Tansy, this flower has a lumpy, brain-like appearance and texture. You can find this flower growing on the continents of Europe and Asia, found most often as pink, yellow and white.
Part of the daisy family, this flower is often found on sandy beaches and dunes. The flower is used in folk and modern medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural treatment for arthritis. It can also be boiled down into a tea as a remedy for cold and flu.
If its brain-like appearance and medicinal properties weren’t impressive enough, this flower can also be used as a natural insect repellent, deterring ticks, mosquitos and other pests. Praise be the Dune Tansy!
6. Helichrysum Stoechas-
A member of the Theaceae family, this flower has mini brain-like spores and can be found in hot and tropical regions of the world growing in white, pink, yellow and purple.
Like the Dune Tansy, the Helichrysum Stoechas also has a list of medicinal benefits. This flower produces triterpene acids which are helpful in the aid of several ailments.
Having anti-inflammatory benefits, a natural analgesic and being immune-supportive are just some reasons why this flower is so important in holistic medicine.
It is also used as an anti-aging treatment as well as for nuisance skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Helichrysum stoechas leaves have a sweet-smelling smell that makes the plant more inviting. Having flowers that are rich in nectar makes the plant attractive to pollinators, including bees and butterflies. Helichrysum stoechas can also survive in dry conditions due to its drought-tolerant properties.
7. Rhodiola Rosea-
Known more commonly as “Rose Root” this flower has a similar, brain-like appearance to the Lotus as it opens and fans out, with a strong yet thin stem resembling the human brain stem. Native to Asia and Europe, this flower grows in a variety of colours such as white, yellow, pink and purple.
Unlike others on this list, the Rose Root thrives in colder, mountainous regions, predominately in the Mediterranean. It has been used for centuries to make teas and other tinctures.
One of the more unusual plants on this list, but probably the most fascinating is the Cristata, known also as… wait for it… the brain cactus. Native to central Mexico, this succulent houses its own web of worm-like stems giving it its spooky brain-like appearance.
One of the unique features of this brain-like plant is its slow growth. Handling this plant’s crests requires extreme care due to its fragile nature. As a result of their unique appearance, Cristata plants are popular and can be more expensive.
9. Alabaster Swirl-
Another from the succulent family is the Alabaster Swirl. This whimsical succulent grows upwards and flat and oftentimes looks as maze-like as our own brains. From a side profile, you can really see the resemblance as its thick stem also resembles the brain stem.
10. Gyromitra caroliniana-
While not technically a flower, this fungi has a predominant brain-like appearance. Also called the False Morel, the mushroom resembles a brain by having its own intricate set of creases, wrinkles and folds. This is one species of mushroom that is not recommended for consumption, however, as it has a high toxicity content.
Not nearly as toxic as the False Morel and very delicious is the ever-popular Cauliflower! This vegetable gives the appearance of a brain with its florets, granular head and strong stalk.
Cauliflower also offers anti-inflammatory and detox benefits (I’m sensing a bit of a theme here…). It is also a great source of vitamins C, K, and B6. It is low in carbohydrates and has moderate amounts of antioxidants.
The cauliflower plant also has a unique taste and flavor, which makes it a great choice for several meals. In addition, it can be eaten raw, roasted, boiled, or mashed. It is also easy to find in most fruit markets and grocery stores.
The human brain is a complex organ which is just as fascinating in its appearance as in its function. It comes off as interesting as well that so many plants and flowers with brain-like characteristics also offer us so many health benefits; and with new plant species being discovered so often, who knows what eerie, brain-like plant scientists will come across next!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I take care of a Celosia argentea (Cockscomb)?
The Cockscomb is a very resilient plant, however, it is not immune to fungal diseases. Due to this, it is best to grow Cockscomb in soil that has a good draining system in place with optimal sunlight to avoid stale moisture where fungus can thrive.
It is best to grow Cockscomb in the summer months as it performs best when soil is steady at 16 degrees celsius with about 8 hours of sunlight per day. Under the right conditions, Cockscomb will bloom for 3 months and can produce up to 1500 seeds per gram.
Cockscomb prefers soil with a pH level of 6-7. Since it is found in hot and dry climates, it is resistant to drought and therefore doesn’t require much TLC once matured, however, regular watering is still recommended, as well as a monthly fertilizer.
Why is it bad to eat False Morels?
It may surprise you to find out that the toxic False Morel is actually used as a delicacy in Nordic countries. While that’s not to say that you can’t eat False Morels, you do need to be very careful during preparation as it can be lethal if not cooked properly.
False Morels contain gyromitrin, a carcinogenic hydrazine. Gyromitrin is found in several mushroom varieties. It can cause gastrointestinal issues, and more severely can deplete the central nervous system and cause liver failure, resulting in death.
Gyromitrin can be largely removed by twice boiling and rinsing the mushroom. It is crucial that you boil these mushrooms in a well-ventilated space, as the fumes from the toxin being released is comparable to inhaling rocket fuel.
There can still be, however, small traces left in the mushroom, which is why it is not recommended to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
How does Dune Tansy work for medical use?
While there is no strong scientific evidence of its effects, Dune Tansy is a popular remedy in the holistic world for stomach issues and ulcers, as well as for your gallbladder, migraines and other body aches and pains. You can also use topical tansy for bothersome skin conditions, sunburns, and as an insect repellant.
Dune Tansy works by increasing saliva and blood flow to parts of the body such as the mouth, intestines, pelvis and stomach. In the brain, it can work to numb pain transmitters, increase bile, and also stimulate appetite for those with gallbladder or liver dysfunction.
It is very important to note that taking tansy orally is not deemed safe, and deaths have occurred in as little as 10 drops of tansy oil. It has also shown negative effects on the skin when applying it topically. Other side effects include:
– Vomiting and Diarrhea
– Stomach Pain
– Seizures and Tremors
– Kidney and/or liver damage
Talk to a medical professional before taking tansy. You should absolutely avoid taking tansy while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Hey, I’m Lisa and I’ve been an avid gardener for over 30 years. I love writing, talking and living in the garden! Feel free to connect with me on my socials below