See the Incredible Skeleton Flowers that Turn Translucent When it Rains

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Do you know the skeleton flower, this flower that becomes transparent in contact with water? This flower is so intriguing that researchers have looked into it to understand the process and draw inspiration from it for new experiments and to create revolutionary materials. Diphylleia grayi , from its scientific name, grows on the sides of mountains in the coldest regions. It is therefore a rare variety. When the weather is dry, it is a very common white flower… Discover the story of the glass flower which proves that nature has not finished surprising us!

The characteristics of the skeleton plant

This herbaceous perennial is native to Honshu and Hokkaido, Japanese islands with extreme temperatures. Appreciating damp places, it likes to stay in the undergrowth. The most difficult thing with Diphylleia grayi is to get it because its cultivation is relatively easy. It will only require patience.

Its imposing foliage is adorned with astonishing translucent flowers. Then after flowering, they bear fruit with pretty umbrellas verging on red and adorned with blueberries. The flowers are only a few centimeters tall but are grouped in crowns. When the weather is dry, the petals of the flower are white in color. But what makes this flower special is that when in contact with water, they become translucent.

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The stems can reach 40 to 80 cm in height which will appear as 2 or 3 very wide and toothed leaves. In its fruity version, Diphylleia grayi looks superb on a large bed.

Glass flower Skeleton plant Diphylleia grayi


How do grow glass flowers?

As said above, it is not a difficult flower to grow, but it takes patience. It takes quite a long time to settle, that’s why once transplanted, it should not be disturbed. If you can plant it on the edge of deciduous trees, it can live there for several years. Indeed, the root system of deciduous trees naturally drains the soil in winter. In addition, their large foliage provides shade to prevent overheating.

It is possible to mulch plant debris as long as the plant is young to avoid droughts. The skeleton plant is planted in spring or late summer. Mix garden soil with quality planting soil, taking care of the root ball. Water a few weeks after planting and then in the summer during its first year. Then let it live naturally.

Be aware that it is difficult to multiply it, which makes it rare. Seed emergence is the preferred technique here, but it will take years for them to germinate.

Glass flower Skeleton plant Diphylleia grayi
Credits: pinterest

Skeleton Flower Care

Where possible, it’s best to buy established nursery plants from a nursery, but skeleton flower is an unusual specimen that can be hard to find outside of specialty nurseries—and they often sell out of limited stock very quickly. Sometimes the only option is to plant from purchased seeds, though this can be a tricky operation, as the seeds don’t germinate well and it can take a full year to develop a viable plant.

Skeleton flower is a woodland native to the colder mountainous regions of China and Japan, and to grow this flower you will need to mimic those conditions: shady understory area under the canopy of deciduous trees, protected from strong winds, and growing consistently moist, undisturbed soil that is rich in organic material from fallen tree leaves.

If you do manage to provide the right location, the skeleton flower is quite easy to maintain. Throughout the growing season, just remove the dead foliage so that the new leaves can unfold without hindrance. The Skeleton flower is not commonly affected by any serious pests or diseases, nor are there any common cultural complaints.

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Why do skeleton flowers turn transparent?

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