The Happy Alien (yes, that really serves as its common name) ranks as a most unusual plant. The name understandably derives from the unique appearance of its blooms.
It grows naturally in only one location in the world (or at least this world). This little charmer originally grew only in the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. However, it eventually spread, presumably due to human activity, to Chile and Argentina. For now, it only appears there in scattered locations.
Officially discovered in Tierra del Fuego by Charles Darwin himself during his 1831-1836 expedition, others previously described it unofficially as early as 1791.
The IUCN placed this remarkable plant on its list of species but made no official classification of threat level.
Happy Alien Physical Description
A fully grown plant rarely exceeds 5 in (12.7 cm) in height, and the leaves likewise stay small and produce a decidedly tongue-shaped structure.
The lovely and distinctive flowers constitute its most unique feature. They seem pouch-like in shape and grow to roughly 2 in (5 cm) in length.
These typically develop primarily orange-yellow in color. However, combinations of red shades present develop on parts of the bloom, as well. These grow on short, slender stems, with a white band also being present on the mouth.
Happy Alien Habitat and Ecology
The Happy Alien evolved as a cold climate mountain species. Its typical habitat includes a wide range of types, however, as long as they stay open and well drained. These include coastal rock and sand regions, scrubland, moors, cliffs, and steppes.
The appropriately named blooms appear throughout the summer. Their fruits consist of small capsules, which, unlike most blooming plants, get pollinated by birds, rather than by insects.
These draw birds to feed on the uncolored band, thus collecting pollen, which then gets transmitted to the next flower the animal visits.