Prepare to be amazed by these little green flowers that have captured the Internet's heart this week. Find out what they're called—and how you can grow them in your own garden.

By Emily VanSchmus
July 10, 2019
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A shrub native to Australia has enthralled the world with its beautiful flowers that look like a flock of green hummingbirds. Last month, a Reddit user uploaded a photo showing the bird-like flowers up close, and the post generated more than 48,000 reactions and 400 comments.

Image courtesy of Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority

Called the green birdflower (Crotalaria cunninghamii), this plant is related to peas and beans. It can grow up to 9 feet tall and has fuzzy, gray-green leaves. But its intriguing flowers are what have attracted legions of fans around the world. Each one is shaped like the body of a tiny hummingbird in flight. These flowers are clustered together on a central stem, attached by what look like beaks. The yellowish green petals are usually accented with dark purple veins, which likely help bees find the flowers’ nectar. 

In March, the green birdflower was featured as the in-season flower of the month by the Australian Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, a government-run conservation group in Western Australia. If you happen to visit the area between January and April, you can see the flowers blooming in Kings Park, home to the Western Australian Botanic Garden. The plant also grows wild throughout the northern half of Australia.

Green birdflower will grow in the U.S. in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11. In regions that experience freezing temperatures during the winter, bring the plant indoors until spring. This shrub requires full sun and a well-drained soil, but is quite drought-tolerant. Seeds for the plant are available online (like these Crotalaria Cunninghamii Seeds, $18.67, Etsy). They can take two weeks to germinate after nicking the seed coat and soaking them in warm water overnight. If you have access to a mature plant, it may be easier to grow a new plant from cuttings.

Whether you plant your own green birdflowers or simply admire their photos online, their uncanny resemblance to hummingbirds is an excellent example of how amazing nature is.

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