30 March 2021

Quiz: Plant kingdom's cleverest tricks

Take our quiz to test your knowledge of plant tricks and talents.

By Katie Avis-Riordan

Titan arum or Amorphophallus

Many species in the plant kingdom use top tricks and clever deceptions to get what they need.

Whether that’s for pollination, to avoid being eaten or as a survival technique.

But how well do you know their secrets? Take our quiz to find out and scroll down for the answers. Good luck!

1. The flowers of the Ophrys apifera, pictured below, mimic the appearance of what creature?

A. Bear

B. Wolf

C. Bee

D. Cat

Close up of a bee orchid (Ophrys apifera) which looks like a bee
Ophrys apifera © Hans Hillewaert/Creative Commons

2. What does the Venus flytrap have on its leaves to help trap its insect prey?

A. Teeth

B. Spots

C. Glue

D. A sticky web of strands

Venus flytraps with toothed-leaves that have a bright red centre
Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) © Wolfgang Stuppy

3. Look at the Lithops plants below. Can you guess their common name?

A. Shining mirrors

B. Living stones

C. Hard plant

D. Corpse plant

Lithops succulent plant
Lithops © Abu Shawka/Wikimedia Commons

4. How does titan arum attract pollinators when in bloom?

A. Resembles honeycomb

B. Smells like burnt sugar

C. Moves from side to side

D. Smells and looks like rotting flesh

Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum)
Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), Zoe Stewart © Kew

5. How have redwood trees adapted for survival?

A. They don’t grow above 10 metres tall

B. They don’t need water

C. They have fire-resistant bark

D. Their leaves are poisonous to birds

Redwood grove
Redwood grove, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

6. How does the giant waterlily (Victoria amazonica) trap its beetle pollinators?

A. Its flower closes around the beetle

B. Sticky petals

C. Magnetic pull

D. Sucks beetle into inner chamber

Large giant waterlily leaves on water and a pinkish flower
Giant waterlilies, Peter Gasson © RBG Kew

7. Why do the leaves of deciduous trees change colour in autumn?

A. To lose unnecessary energy

B. To repel animals that eat the leaves

C. To reclaim valuable chemicals

D. To attract insect pollinators

Close up of the autumnal leaves of red maple (Acer rubrum)
Don't miss the maples this autumn. The red maple (Acer rubrum) displays beautiful deep red foliage. Jeff Eden © RBG Kew

8. Which of these aquatic plants uses a suction trap to gobble its prey?

A. Waterlilies

B. Bladderworts

C. Lotuses

D. Water lettuce

Inside Kew's Waterlily House
Kew's Waterlily House, Solene Dequiret © RBG Kew

9. How are the seeds of the yew tree (Taxus baccata) spread to more open areas?

A. An explosive mechanism ejects the seeds

B. The seeds are blown in the wind

C. Animals eat the yew berries and poo out the seeds

D. The seeds travel by water

Yew tree in the Natural Area
Yew tree in the Natural Area, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

10. Name the plant in the picture below that resembles a creature.

A. Crocodile fern

B. Bird of paradise

C. White egret flower

D. Spider plant

The orange and blue flower of Strelitzia reginae
Strelitzia reginae © Alejandro Bayer/Wikimedia Commons

11. Pneumatophores, pictured below, are special tree root systems. What is their benefit?

A. Ward off herbivores

B. Release trapped water

C. Disperse seeds

D. Help supply oxygen to the main submerged root

Tree root snorkels by the Sackler Crossing at Kew
Pneumatophores, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

12. What insect do hammer orchids mimic and then trap for pollination?

A. Thynnine wasp

B. Fire ant

C. Peacock butterfly

D. Dragonfly

Hammer orchid (Drakaea spp.)
Hammer orchid, Jean and Fred © Wikimedia Commons

13. How does mistletoe receive water and nutrients?

A. Draws them from a nearby river 

B. From the soil

C. Animals transfer them to the plant

D. Takes them from the tree it grows on

A bunch of mistletoe growing on a tree
Mistletoe almost ready for harvest in East Bergholt, Suffolk © M.J.M. Christenhusz / RBG Kew.

14. How does the ghost plant (Monotropa uniflora) obtain its energy?

A. From the sun

B. Takes nutrients from fungi

C. Doesn't need energy

D. Steals nutrients from other ghost plants

Ghost Plant (Monotropa uniflora) with white stem and flower on woodland floor.
Ghost Plant (Monotropa uniflora) © Wikimedia Commons/liz west

15. What is the common name of this plant that kills its host tree by constricting the trunk and roots?

A. Oak slayer

B. Devil's hands

C. Strangler fig

D. Suffocating ivy

Plant roots wrapped around a boulder
Plant roots wrapped around a boulder © O. Baudys/Wikimedia Commons

Answers

1. The flowers of the Ophrys apifera, pictured below, mimic the appearance of what creature?

C. Bee

Discover more about the bee orchid

2. What does the Venus flytrap have on its leaves to help trap its insect prey?

A. Teeth

Find out more fun facts about the Venus flytrap

3. Look at the Lithops plants below. Can you guess their common name?

B. Living stones

Take a look at more plants that look like something else

4. How does titan arum attract pollinators when in bloom?

D. Smells and looks like rotting flesh

Get clued up on titan arum 

5. How have redwood trees adapted for survival?

C. They have fire-resistant bark

Read up on redwoods

6. How does the giant waterlily (Victoria amazonica) trap its beetle pollinators?

A. Its flower closes around the beetle

Get to know the giant waterlily's tricks

7. Why do the leaves of deciduous trees change colour in autumn?

C. To reclaim valuable chemicals

Read more on autumn colour

8. Which of these aquatic plants uses a suction trap to gobble its prey?

B. Bladderworts

Get the details on the bladderwort

9. How are the seeds of the yew tree (Taxus baccata) spread to more open areas?

C. Animals eat the yew berries and poo out the seeds

Learn about the relationships between trees, fungi, and animals

10. Name the plant in the picture below that resembles a creature.

B. Bird of paradise

Read about this plant's pollination tricks

11. Pneumatophores, pictured below, are special tree root systems. What is their benefit?

D. Help supply oxygen to the main submerged root

Dive into aquatic life

12. What insect do hammer orchids mimic and then trap for pollination?

A. Thynnine wasp

Find out more about the hammer orchid

13. How does mistletoe receive water and nutrients?

D. Takes them from the tree it grows on

Learn more surprising mistletoe facts

14. How does the ghost plant (Monotropa uniflora) obtain its energy?

B. Takes nutrients from fungi

Discover the spookiest plants and fungi

15. What is the common name of this plant that kills its host tree by constricting the trunk and roots?

C. Strangler fig

Swot up on strangler figs

Your score

Add up your score out of 15 to see if you're an expert or amateur...

11 or above: You're a plant tricks pro!

6 to 10: Great effort, these clever plants haven't outsmarted you

1 to 5: Good try but it's time to boost your botanic brainpower

0: Looks like these plant tricksters have got you fooled

Let us know how you did on our Kew FacebookTwitter or Instagram, or Wakehurst FacebookTwitter or Instagram

Deep pink cherry blossom

Support Kew

Coronavirus has created a significant financial challenge that threatens our future. We need your help to preserve our collections and continue our scientific research.

Read & watch