Comedians aren’t the only ones with a wacky sense of humor! Botanists and plant lovers have thought up some pretty unusual and funny flower names over the years. Think Pussytoes, Sneezeweed, and Corn-cockle! While these aren’t the scientific names, they’re memorable because they’re silly and usually descriptive of the plant in some way.

Here are some droll, quirky names of flowers.

Butter-and-eggs, common toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)

funny flower names with Butter-and-eggs

This perky yellow and white wildflower is native to Europe and central Asia, and was originally grown in the U.S. as a cultivated, perennial garden flower. It escaped and now has naturalized in the U.S. and Canada, and has become invasive in some areas. Butter-and-eggs is seen along roadsides, meadows, and waste places. It has been used medicinally in folk medicine and even as an insecticide.

Swamp lousewort (Pedicularis lanceolata)

funny flower names with swamp lousewort

This herbaceous perennial wildflower is unique for reasons other than just its name. The swamp lousewort is what’s known as a hemiparasite, meaning that in addition to collecting nutrients from the sun through photosynthesis, it also steals resources from nearby plants thanks to underground, connecting roots.

Thimbleweed, windflower (Anemone virginiana)

funny flower names with thimbleweed

Thimbleweed is a little, white-flowered, herbaceous perennial that grows in open woodlands or dry, rocky hillsides in the eastern and central U.S. Its funny name comes from the thimble-shaped seed heads that form after the flowers go by. Its other common name, windflower, comes from the Greek word anemos, which means “wind.”

Bastard toadflax (Comandra umbellata)

funny flower names with bastard toadflax

Careful talking about this one in public! Years ago, Native Americans would eat the seeds of a bastard toadflax (also known by the less comedic name Comandra umbellata) and use other parts of the plant to treat colds, canker sores, and eye irritation.

Cheeses, cheeseweed (Malva neglecta)

funny flower names with cheeses

What sounds like a crazy name actually makes sense. This flower’s round, flat seedpod looks like a wheel of cheese, flat pumpkin, or button. Cheeses have white to light pink or purple flowers, and spread low to the ground. They are found growing in lawns and meadows all over the United States.

Corn-cockle (Agrostemma githago)

funny flower names with corn-cockle

Despite what its name might imply, the last thing this plant resembles is corn. This magnificent plant grows nearly 3 feet tall and sprouts just one beautiful purple flower at its top, making it a popular decorative plant on farms.

Pussytoes (Antennaria sp.)

funny flower names with pussytoes

The name “pussytoes” comes from the fuzzy white to pink flower heads that look like tiny kitten’s paws. This is a group of perennial species that are mostly native to the Northern Hemisphere. They often grow in groups, with their basal leaves hugging the ground and upright stalks reaching a foot high. Pussytoes grow in a variety of well-drained soils, and are a great addition to rock gardens.

Adder’s tongue spearwort (Ranunculus ophioglossifolius)

funny flower names with adder's tongue spearwort

When submerged in water, this aquatic-loving plant’s leaves float to the surface and resemble a water lily. Though now a beloved water plant, adder’s tongue is relatively young, especially when compared to flowers like roses and daisies. It was first described by Dominique Villars in “Histoire des Plantes de Dauphiné,” which was published in 1789.

Sneezeweed (Helenium sp.)

funny flower names with sneezeweed

This red, yellow, and orange daisy-like flower is a fall-blooming perennial native to North and Central America. Sneezeweed’s crazy flower name comes from its early use as a snuff that would cause sneezing to expel evil spirits. It grows well in damp woodlands and moist areas, and many horticultural varieties have been bred because of its colorful flower and easy growth.

Humped bladderwort (Utricularia gibba)

funny flower names with humped bladderwort

This aquatic carnivorous plant can be found almost anywhere water is present, from the United States and Canada to Africa and Asia. Grown primarily in lakes and canals, this flower is about as gruesome as its name implies. To get its nutrients, a humped bladderwort captures small prey in its bladder and digests it over time.

Turtlehead (Chelone lyoniiChelone glabra)

funny flower names with turtlehead

Turtlehead is a perennial wildflower native to Canada as well as the northeast and central U.S. Its unique name refers to the pink or white, hooded, two-lipped flowers that resemble a turtle’s beak. It grows in wet, boggy areas and along streams, and can be cultivated if there is enough moisture. Turtlehead blooms in the late summer to fall, and has sometimes been used as an unusual cut flower in arrangements.

Mad dog skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

funny flower names with mad dog skullcap

This wetland-loving species usually grows near marshes, meadows, lakes, and canals. Recently, scientists have been studying its extracts, with a hope of one day using it as a mild sleep sedative.

Cuckoo flower (Cardmine pratensis)

funny flower names with cuckoo flower

This pale pink or white wildflower is a native of Europe and western Asia, and has naturalized in the United States. The cuckoo flower’s funny name comes from its bloom time that coincides with the first call of the cuckoo bird in spring. It is an herbaceous perennial that grows in wet woods, damp meadows, and along stream beds.

False hellebore (Veratrum viride)

funny flower names with false hellebore

Known by a variety of names, including Indian poke, Indian hellebore, and green false hellebore, this plant is extremely toxic. Just a few false hellebore plants have the power to kill an entire garden or farm, as well as livestock if ingested.

Viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare)

funny flower names with viper's bugloss

This showy, blue-flowered plant was once used as a cure for snake or viper bites, and “bugloss” refers to the Greek word for “ox tongue,” from the shape of its leaves. Viper’s bugloss is native to Europe and Western Asia and has naturalized in the United States. It was originally used as a garden flower but has since escaped and become an invasive weed in parts of the U.S. Regardless of whether you view viper’s bugloss as a weed or garden plant, it remains a very pretty flower with a crazy name.

Scurfpea (Pediomelum tenuiflorum)

funny flower names with scurfpea

Most often found emerging from desert grasslands and canyons, these pea-like flowers change color depending on their age. When they first bloom, they’re a bluish-purple color. As they get older, they become red or tan.

Corn-salad, mâche (Valerianella locusta)

funny flower names with corn-salad

Corn-salad, or mâche, is a native of Western Europe, Northern Africa, and Western Asia, and has naturalized in North America. True to its unique name, it is used as a salad green, and is often found as a weed growing in cornfields. Corn-salad is an early spring annual that grows wild but can be cultivated for its smooth, green leaves. Several horticultural varieties have been bred for larger leaves and sweeter taste.

Spiny-leaved sow-thistle (Sonchus asper)

funny flower names with spiny-leaved sow-thistle

Native to Eurasia, the spiny-leaved sow-thistle enjoys living in highly trafficked areas, such as parks and pastures. Even though it’s considered a weed of many crops, it rarely has the chance to invade a farm because livestock find it to be quite tasty. Closely related to wild lettuce, it is possible to eat the young weed as well — though we’d suggest against it!

Monkey flower (Mimulus ringens)

funny flower names with monkey flower

Monkey flower is a native of North America. Its funny name refers to the lilac-colored flowers that were thought to look like smiling monkey faces. It grows in very wet places, such as stream banks, marshy areas, and wet meadows. Monkey flower is a pretty, 3-foot-tall, herbaceous perennial that blooms from midsummer to fall.

Cow vetch (Vicia cracca)

funny flower names with cow vetch

At nearly 4 feet tall, this fast-growing perennial may be a weed, but its lovely purple flowers may make you think twice about grabbing the weed killer. At a single time, as many as 40 small, purple flowers can bloom on one side of its long, green stem.

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Nancy Maffia has a bachelor’s in biology and a master’s in horticulture and communications. She has worked in plant taxonomy, has written and edited gardening books and plant articles, and currently works at a garden center helping customers with plant and gardening questions. She has been published in the Encyclopedia of Indoor Gardening, Getting the Most from Your Garden, and others.

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