Here's Your Sign: Please Don’t Pick The Penis Plant

The Cambodian government wants people to stop picking a rare carnivorous plant that looks like a penis.

The Cambodian Ministry of Environment posted several pictures on their Facebook page earlier this month of three young women picking the phallic plant. “What they are doing is wrong and please don’t do it again in the future! Thank you for loving natural resources, but don’t harvest so it goes to waste!” the Ministry captioned the pictures.

The Ministry’s post came in response to a video shared online of women picking the flowers on Bokor Mountain in Kampot province.

Botanical illustrator Francois Mey said these rare flowers only grow in the Cardamom Mountains of western Cambodia, and only a handful of researchers know where to find them. The plant’s habitat has decreased due to rapid urbanization and agricultural development on private lands, according to a study published in the Cambodian Journal of Natural History.

The plants, called N. holdenii and N. bokorensis, are known colloquially as “pitchers” due to their shape, Live Science noted. The plants survive by supplementing their nutrient intake with live insects.

“When you smell a bokorensis pitcher, it smells sweet — just like a candy,” Mey said. When insects fall inside the pitcher, they drown in digestive fluids and the plant absorbs the insects’ nutrients.

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