While you've been over there getting all creeped out by sharks and spiders, the plant world has been over here, quietly evolving horrors for millions of years. We thought we made it clear that vegetation is not your friend before, but you silly bastards keep traipsing off into nature like it's not an inescapable labyrinth of horrors. We're trying to fix that ...
Take a gander at the snapdragon:
judasstocker / iStock
Aren't they pretty? Now take another look at them in autumn ...
laajala / Flickr
It's less "snapdragon" and more "bones from the dragon's dinner."
The skulls of The Littles up there are actually seedpods that burst open when the seeds are ripe inside, sending spores out through the mouth and the eyes of the "skull." You know, like in all of your nightmares.
Ombrosoparacloucycle / Flickr
"Save yourself. Sleep till spring. Do not open the Ark. Run."
Juan Garcia Aunion / iStock
Part of the reason nature is so awe-inspiring is the fact that every little modification, every physical trait, every characteristic in every organism is the result of millions of years of evolution, shaped by necessity in order to propagate and survive. And then there's the Orchis italica, whose biological purpose seems to be "messing with you."
Ana Retamero Olmos/GDT
The one on the right gets all the honeybees.
Known as the "naked man orchid," because it was first discovered by a scientist named Nakid Manning the -- no, come on: It's obviously because the flowers look like paper cutouts of nude dudes with floppy dongs. Some of the orchids even have smiley faces, which actually makes it far, far worse.
Drow_male / Wiki Commons
You know dick pics have become an epidemic when even Mother Nature sends them.
yanukit / iStock
Here's the Devil's favorite candy:
Yuksing / Wiki Commons
It's the only Halloween treat that would be less terrifying when stuffed with razor blades.
That's actually a water caltrop, and though it bears a striking resemblance to Tim Curry from Legend, it's more closely related to the least exciting part of your Chinese takeout: the water chestnut. They are apparently edible and quite nutritious, just chock full of both vitamins and evil. Obviously evil.
Tanantornanutra / iStock
You can't eat just one, for if you do, the others will track you down and take brutal revenge.
Pix / pixabay
Ink cap mushrooms are surreal fungi that look like they're being melted by the power of the Devil. This Tim Burton-approved decomposer drips fluid from its gills as a way of spreading spores around more effectively. The cap of the mushroom peels away in stages, liquefying from the outside in.
Roel_Meijer / iStock
Even the cursed and the damned love a good fondue.
You'd have to be either very secure in your spirituality, or extremely drunk, to even consider eating one, but they are edible -- that is, of course, unless you've been drinking, in which case they're poisonous. Ink cap mushrooms contain a toxin that prevents your body from breaking down the substance in alcohol that causes hangovers, so if you wash one down with a gin and tonic, you'll feel like you spent all night pounding shots at a 21st birthday party. But hey, the ink they produce can actually be used as writing ink. So next time you need to write a letter to Azazel, He With A Thousand Mouths But No Voice, you know where to go!
tomasztc / iStock
Fuck this mushroom, in particular:
Mario games got a lot creepier once Bowser started setting up shop in Raccoon City.
The cap of Gyromitra esculenta looks like you've stumbled upon a disembodied brain in the middle of the forest. Like Dr. Frankenstein got frustrated while assembling his monster and threw his ill-gotten organs right out the window, presumably to go become a more responsible kind of doctor.
Probably not a brain surgeon, though.
These fungi are edible, but only when cooked in a very particular way, otherwise they're completely toxic. So if you want to make a big splash at your next annual Halloween bash, take a huge bite out of a brain mushroom to the horrified gasps of onlookers -- you can pick one up at your nearest Finnish supermarket. Or graveyard.
The dragon's blood tree is found exclusively on the island of Socotra, a godforsaken, isolated environment which has been described as "the most alien-looking place on Earth." Most of the flora and fauna found in Socotra, including the dragon's blood tree, are found nowhere else in the world. Possibly for good reason.
javarman3 / iStock
Nothing that looks like it traveled millions of light years to blow up landmarks should legally exist.
It's strange enough that they look like an umbrella made out of veins, but even stranger that they actually bleed.
"If it bleeds we can kill it ... I think ..."
The red liquid the trees release upon being cut or wounded isn't actually blood -- it's obviously just resin. But like, resin is the blood of the trees, man. You ever think about that? Really, really think about that?
Shit, sorry. We may not have cooked that brain mushroom right ...
What's The Best Fictional School To Attend? In the muggle world, we're not given the opportunity for a magical hat to tell us which school we should go to. Usually we just have to go to the high school closest to where we live or whatever college accepts our SAT scores and personal essay. This month, our goal is to determine what would be the best fictional school to go to. Join Jack, Daniel, and the rest of the Cracked staff, along with comedians Brandie Posey and Steven Wilber, as they figure out if it's a realistic school like Degrassi or West Beverly High, or an institution from a fantasy world like Hogwarts with its ghosts and dementors, or Bayside High, haunted by a monster known only to humans as Screech. Get your tickets here!
Also, follow us on Facebook, and let's be best friends forever.