There are somewhere in the region of nearly four hundred thousand species of plant alone on the planet – if you were to list them all, you’d be asleep before you got even halfway!
Plant life is found almost everywhere on Earth, and is every bit as varied and fascinating as animal life. Whenever it’s possible for something to live, you’ll find plants – and they can be remarkably tough, and able to live in the most surprising conditions!
Of course, there’s plenty of plants for every letter of the alphabet – but would you believe that even the letter X can have so many? Well, we’ve got 9 of the most interesting plants that begin with the letter X for you!
Native to Latin America, these beautiful orchids have some amazingly beautiful flowers, with lovely, striking coloration. Like many orchids, they’re characterized by pseudobulbs – pod-like structures that emerge below the leaves of the plant.
These pods contain vital nutrients and water for the plant, much in the same way that bulbs do. During times when nutrients and water are more scarce, these pseudobulbs are vital for the survival of the plant.
Xylobium colleyi will often have really strikingly beautiful colorations on its petals – often with really lovely looking pink and purple hues, spotted against a whitish petal. They have a mild fruity scent too! There is a mildly similar plant called Xylobium subpulchrum – they differ in some aspects, but share some vague similarities too.
The shape of the pseudobulbs in Xylobium subpulchrum are ovoid, for one, compared to the mostly spherical shape of the pseudobulbs on Xylobium colleyi.
They have some similar coloration, however – and may be mistakable for one another. Don’t sniff Xylobium subpulchrum though, as they’re known for having a smell that’s like rotting meat!
Xanthisma is a delightful looking yellow flower that’s actually part of the sunflower family. Actually, it’s a genus of about ten species, most of which have similar looking bright yellow flowers.
These flowers grow at the tip of stems that branch off from stems emerging from the plant. They mostly bloom in spring, and (as natives of both the US and Mexico) are quite tolerant to drought.
These plants are one of many that are great for a type of gardening called xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is a type of gardening and landscaping that reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation – obviously, this method of gardening is ideal for those living in drier areas, or those just looking to reduce their water consumption.
So, if you’re one of the above, and are looking for something to add just a splash of yellow to your low-water garden, then a member of the Xanthisma genus might be just what you need. And not just yellow, of course – Xanthisma coloradonese have an absolutely beautiful pink set of petals!
Native to eastern and southern North America, and found widely in New England, xyris difformis is also known by the perhaps slightly less pleasant name “bog yellow-eyed-grass”.
As the name implies, this plant loves to grow in wet conditions – it’ll be found in many bogs and fens, as well as at the shores of ponds and lakes. In fact, wetlands such as these are the only place that you’ll find xyris difformis.
It’s a pretty little wildflower, with very small white and yellow petals. Very small indeed – the petals are each less than a fifth of an inch long!
However, the flowers may be small, but the plant as a whole can grow up to around three feet tall. It can also have leaves (resembling grass – doubtless another source of the common name of this plant) that grow up to 20 inches long!
Another plant in the Xylobium genus, xylobium variegatum is yet another absolutely beautiful orchid. It’s a native to much of South America, being found in Brazil, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, French Guiana, and Suriname.
It typically grows at higher elevations in the wild – normally being found between 2000 and 7500 feet above sea level.
As the word variegatum implies, this plant can have some delightful spots of color in its creamy petals. This of course has led to the plant having the common name “The Irregularly Spotted Xylobium”. It has a pleasant fragrance to go along with this beautiful coloration too.
It doesn’t like being around too much water at all, preferring drier conditions – and it is more a fan of cooler temperatures too. If you’re an owner of this beautiful orchis, keep water away from the flowers themselves at all costs – they can be damaged and end up rotting due to water contact.
This is an absolutely fascinating plant – and, like so many slightly strange looking plants and creatures, it’s a native of Australia.
A member of the genus Xanthorrhoea, it can grow to a staggering 16 feet tall, and is characterized by its striking appearance – looking every bit as its common name (Johnson’s Grass Tree) describes it – a tree with grass growing on it! They look like some sort of alien creature – if you remember
These grass-like leaves can in fact be extremely strong and flexible, and are often given the name “steel grass”. They grow extremely slowly, and despite what you may think of an Australian plant, aren’t actually too bad at dealing with colder temperatures – they’re going to be ok down to around 41 Fahrenheit, even though they won’t exactly be thriving.
Any colder than that though, and you’ll definitely need to give them a little bit of protection for the winter.
Xeranthemum is an absolutely fantastic looking group of plants that have such beautiful white and purple flowers.
These are actually a member of the sunflower family, and if you look closely you can certainly see some similarities, unlike a lot of sunflowers, however, these plants tend to grow rather small – you won’t be winning any height competitions with these “sunflowers”, as they rarely get any higher than a foot and a half.
And, of course, unlike traditional sunflowers, these have no orange or yellow on them, but rather absolutely beautiful purples and whites – they look so pretty!
They’re pretty easy to grow too – start them off in some pots a few weeks after the last spring frost has passed. They’ll germinate in around 2 weeks, and can be transplanted into a garden once they’re growing well. They can handle drier soils with not too much problem – just give them a drink every so often.
Xanthoceras sorbifolium is also known as Chinese Flowering Chestnut. With the last name in mind, it’s no surprise at all that this is a native plant of China – Northern China, to be specific. It can be found in Russia too, having been cultivated there since the 19th Century.
This is a small tree that, in the springtime, bears beautiful large white flowers, centered with a deep red hue, in panicles ( that are up to 20 cm long . They’re a great looking flower, and the tree produces plenty of them!
One interesting fact about this plant is that the leaves, flowers, and seeds of the plant are actually all edible!
Another plant that’s a native species of Australia, xerochrysum bracteatum was actually previously known as Helichrysum bracteatum up until the year 1990, when it was transferred to the new genus Xerochrysum. It grows up to around 3 and a half feet tall, and produces pretty little flower heads from spring to fall.
They’re typically colored somewhere in a range from white to a golden yellow – which goes some way to explaining the name “golden everlasting” that is sometimes given to this plant.
However, certain cultivars can have other colors – they’re known to have some brilliant red-orange variants, and even some reddish-pink cultivars too!
In the wild, it’s typically found in any part of Australia that isn’t completely shaded! You’ll find it from the red sands of Central Australia, to the granite of Western Australia. ALso, it has been reported to be found in some areas of New England in the United States too!
There are actually two species of plant in the genus Xerophyllum, both of which are native to North America. Xerophyllum tenax is a member of the corn lily family, and of course is known by many other names. These include soap grass, bear grass, and Indian basket grass.
It’s mostly found on the west side of the continent, and grows all the way from British Columbia down to California, and as far east as Wyoming. You’ll find it in the Rocky Mountains, and the northern Sierra Nevada range too.
It’s actually been in use by many people for centuries – for instance, it was used traditionally by Native Americans for making baskets. The rootstock and pods of the plant were often cooked and eaten too!
Of course, this isn’t all of the plants that begin with the letter X – it’s not even scratching the surface! However, it’s a good start, and hopefully it’s taught you about some cool and interesting plants you didn’t know about before!