The World’s Rarest Flower Only Grows in Two Locations Around the World

“Middlemist’s Red,” also known as the spring rose, is widely regarded as the world’s rarest flower, as just two of these precious plants exist, one in New Zealand and another in the UK.

Named after John Middlemist, who collected it in China in 1804, the Middlemist’s Red camelia was always a rare flower that could only be found in the stately English homes of well-off families who could afford to buy them. Middlemist himself donated his specimen to Kew Gardens, but it somehow vanished, along with the others throughout London and the whole of the UK, with the exception of one place. By 1823, the Chiswick House & Gardens, a stately home in England, became the only place in the UK where a Middlemist’s Red could be admired.

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Swedish Couple Banned From Naming Baby ‘Vladimir Putin’

The Swedish tax agency, Skatteverket, rejected a young couple’s request to name their son Vladimir Putin, the name of the famous Russian president.

Public radio broadcaster SR recently reported the case of a couple based in Laholm, Sweden, who were banned from naming their newborn son after Russia’s president. Skatteverket didn’t explain exactly why they rejected the naming request, but according to Swedish law, names should not be offensive or risk causing problems for the bearer, nor are first names that clearly resemble surnames allowed. It wasn’t immediately clear what category “Vladimir Putin’ fell into, but the couple was forced to go for something less controversial.

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The Brazilian Treehopper – The Most Alien-Looking Creature on Earth

The Brazilian treehopper, a pea-sized, rainforest-dwelling insect that spends its days munching on treetop leaves, is almost certainly the most otherworldly-looking creature on our planet.

From the double-nosed Andean tiger hound, to the painting-like “Picasso fish“, we’ve featured our share of strange-looking creatures on Oddity Central, but none of them come close to the bizarre Bocydium globulare or the Brazilian treehopper. This tiny, solitary insect looks like something out of a sci-fi/horror film, featuring a headdress made up of four spheres of chitin covered in many bristles, which suggests they have some sensory purpose, but scientists have no idea what these weird balls actually do.

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Man Claims to Have Been Sleeping Just 30 Minutes a Day for the Last 12 Years

Daisuke Hori, a 36-year-old man from Japan, has spent the last few years training his mind and body to function on as little sleep as possible. He claims to get just 30 minutes of sleep a day and not get tired at all.

Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and that you’d rather shun sleep so you can do the things you like? Well, that’s probably most people, but few of us actually go through with that idea. Daisuke Hori is one such man. He claims to have lowered his daily sleep time from about 8 hours a day to just 30 minutes, without suffering any of the severe side-effects associated with sleep deprivation. He is the chairman of the “Japan Short-sleeper Association” and now teaches others how to lower their daily sleeping time so they can enjoy life more.

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The Hitachi Tree – A Beloved Japanese Corporate Symbol That Grows in Hawaii

Ever since 1975, a majestic monkeypod tree growing on the Hawaiian island of Oahu has been the symbol of electronics and technology giant Hitachi, making it one of the most beloved corporate symbols of Japan.

The so-called “Hitachi Tree” is one of the several monkeypod trees growing in the privately-owned Moanalua Gardens, once the childhood home of King Kamehameha the IV, but it gets by far the most attention from tourists, with staff members claiming that around 1,000 people visit it every day. Most of them are Japanese, and there’s a good explanation for that. The tree has been used as a symbol by the Hitachi Corporation for nearly five decades, and millions of Japanese grew up seeing its beautiful crown on TV every day and humming its very own catchy jingle.

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This Adorable Tabby Is the World’s Deadliest Feline

Felis nigripes, the African black-footed cat, stands at just 8 to 10 inches tall and weighs roughly 200 times less than the average lion, but it is actually the most efficient feline predator on the planet.

The black-footed cat is actually the smallest African feline, smaller even than the average alley cat, but you shouldn’t be fooled by its demure stature, because it is actually the deadliest of all the world’s felines. This adorable furball has an accelerated metabolism that requires it to hunt almost non-stop, which means that it kills an average of 10 to 14 rodents or small birds every night, more victims than a leopard hunts in a month. To top it all off, its predations success is around 60 percent, while lions only succeed in catching their victims about 20 to 25 percent of the time.

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The World’s Fastest Roller Coaster Requires Riders to Wear Safety Goggles

Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster, reaches a top speed of 240 km/h in just 4.9 seconds and requires riders to wear safety glasses to protect their eyes from impact with insects or grains of sand.

As part of the Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi, the Formula Rossa roller coaster was designed to emulate the Formula 1 experience, and even features a cart shaped like an F1 supercar. The track itself was inspired by the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, featuring a series of “sharp turns and sudden drops” capable of generating up to 4.8 G. But what really sets this roller coaster apart from the rest is the speed. As the fastest roller coaster ever built, it reaches a top speed of 240 km/h (149 mph). It also goes from 0-100 km/h in just 2.0 seconds, thanks to a hydraulic launch system similar to that of steam catapults on aircraft carriers.

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Hagfish – Weird Slime-Spewing Monsters of the Ocean

At first glance, the humble hagfish looks like just another species of ocean-dwelling eel, but they are something much weirder and at the same time fascinating. From the bizarre slime-like substance it produces as a defense mechanism, to the lack of a backbone, there’s a whole lot of weirdness to address.

The hagfish is a primitive, virtually blind creature that spends its life on the bottom of the ocean, slithering and feeding mostly on dead or dying fish. Among the several things that make the hagfish unique is its body structure. It has a skull, but no jaw and no vertebral column. This allows them to tie their bodies into knots in order to scrape the sticky slime they produce off of their skin. They can burrow into dead or dying animals through various orifices and even through their skin – using two rows of keratinous teeth – and devour them from the inside. But they don’t really need the teeth, as they can absorb nutrients through the skin and can go months without eating. Pretty freaky stuff, and we haven’t even talked about their slime-producing capabilities.

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Al Naslaa – Saudi Arabia’s Mysterious Rock Formation

Saudi Arabia’s Tayma Oasis is home to a 4,000-year-old geological mystery – a strange rock formation perfectly split down the middle with the precision of a laser beam.

The world-famous Al Naslaa rock formation is made up of two large sandstone boulders supported by a natural pedestal that appears much too small for its purpose. But what really draws people’s attention is the perfect split between the two boulders, which appears to have been done with a powerful laser beam. The almost flawless split has inspired lots of speculation on the internet, with some suggesting that Al Naslaa is proof that ancient civilizations may have been more advanced than history tells us.

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Man Holds the World Record for Most Signatures Tattooed on His Back, Over 225

Funky Matas, a social media entertainer based in Florida, holds the world record for most signatures tattooed on the back, including those of celebrities like Will Smith or Gerard Butler.

Funky, real name Juan Matas, used to work as a tattoo artist himself and came up with the project that would end up defining his career as an online entertainer while thinking of a unique project with his body as the canvas. In the end, he narrowed the quest down to two options – turning his back into a MySpace-like form for his family and friends to fill out, or having his friends sign his back with a tattoo machine. The latter was more down his alley, considering his profession, only it didn’t stop with his friends. His family signed his back as well, then famous tattoo artists, and before he knew it, Funky Matas was chasing celebrities and asking them to sign his back so he could then permanently ink it onto his body. His back now has over 225 tattooed signatures, a world record.

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Real Goldy Locks – Rapper Claims to Have Implanted Gold Chains Into His Head

Mexican rapper Dan Sur has been getting a lot of attention lately, not because of his music, but because of his drastic physical transformation – replacing his natural hair with metal gold chains implanted into his head.

With the internet and social media constantly producing new artists and influencers, it’s hard to get noticed unless you do something truly extreme. Face tattoos, diamond-studded grillz, multicolored hair, it’s all been done before, so attention seekers really have to get creative. Dan Sur, a young from Mexico, seems to have found one such creative, albeit shocking, way of standing out from the crowd – replacing his natural locks with gold chains allegedly implanted into his skull.

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Political Candidate Forced to Run Against Doppelgangers Who Also Stole His Name

An opposition party candidate running for a municipal position in St Petersburg, Russia, is competing against at least two other people who not only legally changed their names to his, but also borrowed his physical appearance to confuse voters.

Russian opposition politicians are used to running against candidates with the same surname, it’s a commonly used tactic that can derail a few precious votes in close elections, but Boris Vishnevsky’s case stands out. A senior member of the liberal Yabloko party running for public office in a district of Saint Petersburg, Vishnevsky already knew that two of his opponents had recently changed their names to “Boris Vishnevsky” to confuse voters. What he didn’t know was that they’d stolen his look as well. In a district voting poster showing the three candidates side by side, it’s difficult to tell them apart, because they all look nearly identical.

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Mother Makes 13-year-Old Girl Jump Rope 3,000 Times Per Day to Grow Taller

A 13-year-old girl was diagnosed with a serious joint disease caused by being forced to jump rope 3,000 times a day by her mother, as a bizarre way of growing taller.

Chinese media recently reported the case of a 13-year-old girl in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province who developed traction apophysitis of the tibial tubercle after being forced by her mother to jump rope 3,000 a day in order to get taller. The girl had complained to her mother of knee pain, but she was initially accused of being lazy and was only taken to see a doctor after her symptoms worsened. After performing a physical checkup, doctors ruled out a meniscus injury but warned the mother that excessive exercise can cause serious injuries in children.

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Food-Stall Owner Adds Poppy Husk Powder to His Dishes to Make Them Addictive

A Chinese food stall owner was recently arrested after admitting to adding poppy husk powder to his dishes to get patrons hooked on them.

In late August of this year, the Lunan Police Station in Lianyungang City, China’s Jiangsu Province, received information that a local hot noodle stall owner might be using illegal ingredients to make his food more appetizing and more addictive. Apparently, the anonymous whistleblower had recently watched public safety warning videos about shady businessmen lacing their food with poppy husks to make them seem more appetizing, and wondered if the food stall that made the delicious hot noodles he loved so much was doing the same thing. As it turned out, they were in fact adding poppy husk powder to the noodles, to make them literally addictive, as a way to boost business.

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Rat King – Russian Farmer Finds Five Rats With Their Tails Mysteriously Knotted Together

Reports of the bizarre rat king phenomenon date back to the 16th century, but the recent discovery of a Russian farmer who found five small rats with their tails tied in a giant knot is once again causing scientists to scratch their heads.

A rat king occurs when the tails of multiple rodents become so entangled that even an adult human, let alone a creature without opposable thumbs and advanced brain, would have trouble detangling. Rat kings have been reported numerous times since the mid-16th century, but scientists have yet to properly understand how and why it occurs, or even if it is a natural phenomenon or just a man-made hoax. The discovery of a new rat king in a flooded field in Russia has once again brought the very existence of the phenomenon into the debate.

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