Flowers are capable of bringing us such joy with their incredible colors and fragrances. Nature has provided us with so many varieties, each with their own distinct characteristics and patterning. The flowers in this list all display a flamboyant multitude of colors that, when viewed in combination, provide a special treat for the eyes. Indeed, when you look through the list, you can understand why the famous social reformer Henry W. Beecher once described flowers as 'the sweetest thing God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into'.
1. Blue Tango (aechmea)
The Blue Tango is part of the bromeliad family of plants, often noted for their brilliant, bright flowers. It's a relatively recent hybrid addition to the genus and produces a luminescent, bright blue and pink flower that provides an eye-catching sight for any onlooker. The flower is becoming more and more popular as a landscape plant, and can be grown indoors. Bright, indirect light provides the best conditions for the wonderful blue tango to thrive.
2. Tiger Flower (tigridia pavonia)
Tiger flowers are brightly colored and brilliantly patterned flowers native to Mexico. They have an interesting bloom cycle - with each each flower only living for one day - but several flowers will usually bloom from the same stalk. The tiger will bloom early in the morning, only to close again late at night. The flowers come in a variety of colors and take their common name from the tiger-like markings on the flower's petals.
3. Walking Iris/Apostle Plant (neomarica northiana)
The walking iris (also known as the Apostle Plant) or neomarica northiana is one of the most striking plants of the Iradaceae genus. It can be found across Central & South America and its petals display interesting shapes as well as brilliant colors in blue and pearly white. The weight exerted by the plantlet as it grows causes the stalk of the plant to bend towards the ground and allows the flower to root away from its host plant - which is how it came to be associated with 'wandering' or 'walking'.
4. True Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
The true passionflower or passiflora incarnata is an incredibly intricate and vibrant flower that grows on a climbing vine. It's commonly found in the southern states of the USA, particularly around Tennessee, where it's the official state wildflower. They typically feature blue and white petals with prominent, protruding stamen and thrive in areas where there is plentiful sunlight, which allows them to bloom in mid-summer.
5. Gazania (gazania rigens)
Gazania is a flowering plant native to southern Africa, and produces stunning daisy-shaped flowers in incredible shades of yellow, orange and maroon. They can be found in a variety of soils from low altitude, sandy ground through to alpine meadows, and are often cultivated for their beautiful colors and near-symmetrical petals, which make them a popular choice for private gardens.
6. Opium Poppy 'Danebrog' (papaver somniferum)
The opium poppy is famous for being both a popular, eye-catching garden flower, and for providing opium seeds, which are used in a variety of drugs including morphine (and it's derivative heroin). The 'Danebrog' is one of the most beautiful examples of the flower, featuring predominantly red petals interrupted by a white cross-like shape across the center of the flower near the stamen. It's named after the national flag of Denmark, which is known as the Danebrog and features similar patterning.
7. Toothed calicoflower (downingia cuspidata)
The toothed calicoflower or downingia cupsidata is a distinctive wild flower found in the north west of the USA. The blue flower features three, conjoined petals in the lower part and a bright yellow spot towards the middle, which is used to attract pollinators and help them navigate to the center of the flower. There are two upper petals that often stick up like rabbit ears, meaning that the flower has a unique shape as well as a distinctive multi-colored appearance.
8. Lobster Claw (heliconia)
The hanging flowers of the heliconia bear a striking resemblance to a lobster's claw, which is how it came upon its common name. It's found in rainforests across Central and South America, where it flowers during the wet season to display the full glory of its instantly recognizable red, orange, yellow and green hues. The vibrant flowers attract the plant's key pollinators - hummingbirds - some of which even use the host plant for nesting.
9. Great Masterwort (astrantia major)
The great masterwort belongs to the family Apiaceae and is found in mountain meadows, grasslands and forested regions of central and eastern Europe. The plants reach up to 60cm (24 inches) in height and the flowers bloom in various shades of pink and white. They feature intricately detailed petals that make them a favorite among gardeners.
10. Blue Lotus Lily (nymphaea caerulea)
The blue lotus lily is a water lily, originally found along the Nile and in other locations around East Africa, but has now spread to other areas of the world including Thailand and the Indian Subcontinent. The flower has a yellow center surrounded by colorful petals that vary in shade from light blue to mauve. Like many lotus flowers, the blue lotus has symbolic meaning to many cultures and it's also used in a variety of drinks recipes.
11. Bird-of-Paradise Flower (strelitzia)
The Bird-of-Paradise flower is native to South Africa where it features on the reverse of the country's 50 cent coin, it's also the floral symbol of the city of Los Angeles in the United States. It's considered to be one of the most attractive flowers in the world, famous for it's brilliant orange-yellow sepals interspersed with blue and purple petals.
12. Wine Cups (geissorhiza radians)
The wine cup or geissorhiza radians is one of the most unique and fantastic flowers you can find. It's a wild plant found in South Africa and its flowers are only one about 1 inch (2.5cm) wide when fully grown. But what they lack in size, they make up for via their radiant coloring, which features a purple ring around a ruby red center. The red center acts as a 'target', encouraging pollinators to head straight for the heart of the flower.