Cryptobotany or cryptophytology is a field related to cryptozoology, dedicated to the study and search for formally undescribed plants. Due to their nature, cryptid plants are far less common than cryptid animals: an animal is mobile and will not remain in the same spot for long, whilst a plant is immobile, and therefore likely to be formally documented and described after only a single encounter.
Cryptid plants are generally reported from inaccessible tropical regions, and many are carnivorous plants, such as man-eating trees or vampire plants. There is no single dedicated work on cryptobotany, but the largest collections of information regarding carnivorous cryptid plants are contained in Karl Shuker's The Beasts That Hide From Man (2003) and Roy P. Mackal's Searching for Hidden Animals (1980).
Bernard Heuvelmans stated in the foreword to A Living Dinosaur? (1987) that his proudest achievement related to the neodinosaurian cryptids was cryptobotanical: in Les Derniers Dragons d'Afrique (1978), based on advice from Armad Bouquet, he had correctly identified the plant described as the mokele-mbembe's favourite food, "a kind of liana with large white blossoms, with a milky sap and apple-like fruits," as a species of Landolphia. A sample of the liana collected two years later was identified as Landolphia mannii.
Notable cryptid plants
Notes and references
- Mackal, Roy P. (1987) A Living Dinosaur? In Search of Mokele-Mbembe, Brill, ISBN 978-9004085435
- Shuker, Karl P. N. (2003) The Beasts That Hide From Man: Seeking the World's Last Undiscovered Animals, Paraview Press, ISBN 1-931044-64-3
- Shuker, Karl P. N. ShukerNature: PITCHING IN WITH NEWS OF A GIANT MYSTERY PITCHER PLANT karlshuker.blogspot.com [Accessed 25 April 2019]