Napoleonaea vogelii in the Orchids and Cycads House has one of the strangest flowers. It bears the most amazing resemblance to a Sea Anemone. The flower is a complex structure of crenulated fused petals. These may wrap around a twig if in the way of its development. There is also an upward ring of fused ribbed petals with a ring of free stamens surrounding and pushing back. A strong red compliments the orange shade which is the predominant colour. It is thought that sap sucking thrips may be the pollinator of these flowers during their feeding.
Looking inside the flower a further ring is composed of downturned stigmas dusted with white granules of pollen. Showy and colourful these buds are held in the leaf axils on a short stalk.
Native to Tropical West Africa where as a shrub or small tree it grows in humid forests and near the coast. The bark is sometimes ground and used as cough medicine. Alternate evergreen leaves are of simple form.