This plant has a specialized mechanism to prepare the soil for its own seeds to grow. A highly acidic liquid is excreted from the flower and drops onto the ground below the plant. This liquid dissolves any other living organisms in the spot where it lands and also breaks down rocks and other large particles into a nutrient-rich seed bed. When seeds are mature and drop from the flower, they land in this “safe site” and germinate readily under the protection of the parent plant. This highly evolved form of “parenting” has rarely been observed in plants.
The scorpion thistle is a rare plant on Pandora that produces a single gigantic flower at the tip of an enlarged stem. This plant species has co-evolved with a particular bird species that is its sole pollinator. Similar to the highly co-evolved plant-insect pollinator relationships on Earth, this plant-bird pollinator co-evolution has resulted in both species resembling each other. The beak of the bird fits perfectly into the small opening of the flower where it locates nectar and in doing so transfers pollen. (Read more)