Atlas of Living Australia

These Hummingbird Shaped Flowers Prove That Nature Is One Brilliant Artist

Mother Nature does nothing by accident, and we are in a continual, never-ending process of uncovering all of her secrets.

Since so many new scientific discoveries are made each day, it's pretty common practice for the people of the internet to build communities surrounding the identification of the weird, the wicked, and the wonderful when it comes to the natural world.

One Reddit user posted a photo of a very oddly shaped stem of flowers that he had found.

Reddit | Octopus_Prime

"Check out these flowers," he wrote, "They look like tiny hummingbirds!"

Reddit immediately swarmed the post with questions and assumptions, trying to identify just how a flower could be shaped so specifically like a animal.

A lot of people wanted to know if the bird shape had been caused by something.

Atlas of Living Australia

A fair number of birds, insects, and reptiles have the capability to change their appearance based on their surroundings, so it isn't a far stretch to think that plants may be able to do the same.

"Is this Batesian mimicry or pareidolia?" one user asked, "Any biologist to chime in?"

Pareidolia is process in which our brain 'recognizes' something that is not really there.

Atlas of Living Australia

A biologist commented that in his opinion, this phenomenon is Pareidolia, meaning that our brains are tricked into seeing the petals as being shaped like a hummingbird.

To prove his theory, the biologist posted links of flowers in the same species.

Atlas of Living Australia

"Comparing this flower to the 'Hummingbird' Crotalaria one can see a few small changes in the petals (sweep forward in angle, lengthen, and come to point) can achieve the bird resemblance."

The flower was identified as the Crotalaria cunninghamii, native to Australia.

Atlas of Living Australia

The biologist continued to explain that not only are there no birds small enough in Australia for the flowers to mimic, but Australia doesn't have any hummingbirds at all.

This means that the flower can't be mimicking an actual hummingbird.

Atlas of Living Australia

The plant is also referred to as "the regal bird flower" likely because of its appearance.

Whether you're of the opinion that we give art our own meaning or that 'life imitates art", we can all agree that these flowers are breathtaking.

You have better luck seeing an actual hummingbird than these bad boys though.

It grows in sandy areas and along beaches in Northern Australia, which unfortunately means that unless you are currently on the continent, you won't be able to see the hummingbird flowers in person anytime soon.

For now, these beautiful photos will have to suffice.

h/t: Reddit

Filed Under: