“U” certainly isn’t the most common letter to start off a plant name, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of interesting ones to discover. For example, there are many unique flowers that start with U!
Here are 25 amazing plants all starting with the letter “U.”
- Umbrella Plant
- Ulex Europaeus
- Upright Virgin’s Bower
- Urn Fungus
- Uruguay Potato Vine
- Umbrella Pine
- Ulmus Hollandica
- Uinta Cactus
- Unbranched Bur Reed
- Umbrella Bamboo
- Upright Brome
- Urn Plant
- Upland Willow Oak
- Unicorn Plant
- Utah Agave
- Umbrella Magnolia
- Upas Tree
- Ulmus Glabra
- Ultra Boy Tomato
- Upright Clematis
25 Unique Plants That Start With U
1. Umbrella Plant
- Common Name(s): Umbrella plant, Umbrella papyrus, Umbrella sedge
- Scientific Name: Cyperus alternifolius
- Native to: West Africa, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula
These plants are cultivated around the world and sold as houseplants. They make a great potted plant for homes and offices as they are easy to maintain and clean the air around them.
- Common Name(s): Uva-ursi, Kinnikinnick
- Scientific Name: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
- Native to: North America
This evergreen plant grows white flowers and red berries. Native Americans would smoke the leaves, often mixed with other herbs or tobacco.
3. Ulex Europaeus
- Common Name(s): Gorse, Common gorse, Furze, Whin
- Scientific Name: Ulex europaeus
- Native to: The British Isles and Western Europe
This vividly yellow gorse can be found in all kinds of habitats across the west of Europe, from heaths to hilltops. These yellow flowers have a distinctive coconut smell.
4. Upright Virgin’s Bower
- Common Name(s): Upright Virgin’s Bower, Virgin's bower, Virginia virgin's bower, Devil's darning needles, Devil's hair, Love vine, Traveler's joy, Wild hops, Woodbine
- Scientific Name: Clematis virginiana
- Native to: North and Central America
This vine climbs by wrapping its leaf petioles around an upright support. The plant loves to be near a stream or pond and can thrive in a variety of light conditions.
5. Urn Fungus
- Common Name(s): Urn fungus, Devil’s urn, Gray urn
- Scientific Name: Urnula craterium
- Native to: North America, Asia, and Europe
This unusual-looking fungus is cup-shaped and has a dark, leathery texture, and is often likened to an urn. It grows in small clusters in woodland, where it feeds off the dead wood of trees.
6. Uruguay Potato Vine
- Common Name(s): Uruguay potato vine, Potato vine, Potato climber, Jasmine nightshade
- Scientific Name: Solanum laxum
- Native to: Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina
This plant, in the Solanaceae, or nightshade, family is a relation to tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. However, the potato vine is poisonous and can cause a stomach ache if ingested, so it's advised to wear gloves when handling them.
7. Umbrella Pine
- Common Name(s): Umbrella-pine, Japanese umbrella-pine
- Scientific Name: Sciadopitys verticillata
- Native to: Japan
This tree is the only known species in its family of Sciadopityaceae. It has become a popular choice for gardens even though it grows very slowly.
8. Ulmus Hollandica
- Common Name(s): Dutch elm
- Scientific Name: Ulmus × Hollandica
- Native to: Britain
This elm was created by crossing two other species, the Wych elm, and the field elm.
One such hybrid stood at Oxford University and was the tallest elm in Britain until a wind blew it down in 1911. They have also frequently been featured in British painter John Constable’s classic artworks.
9. Uinta Cactus
- Common Name(s): Uinta Cactus, Colorado hookless cactus.
- Scientific Name: Sclerocactus glaucus
- Native to: Colorado
This pretty cactus can only be found in Colorado and is a federally listed threatened species. Residential development, livestock, rock mining, and other activities have all contributed to the decline of the plant.
- Common Name(s): Ursinia
- Scientific Name: Ursinia
- Native to: Africa
These flowers are relations of daisies and chamomile and they bloom a sunny yellow for months every year.
11. Unbranched Bur Reed
- Common Name(s): Unbranched bur reed, European bur reed
- Scientific Name: Sparganium emersum
- Native to: The northern latitudes of Eurasia and North America
This aquatic plant can be found in shallow water like ponds and streams. You can see it growing far out of the water with small, round spiky flowers.
12. Umbrella Bamboo
- Common Name(s): Umbrella Bamboo
- Scientific Name: Fargesia murielae
- Native to: Southeast Asia, China, and Japan.
This plant has the unusual feature of being monocarpic, which means it only flowers and seeds once across its lifetime.
The flower can live around 100 years, and will only bloom once, towards the end of its life. Even stranger, this behavior is synchronous, with many bamboo flowering at the same time.
13. Upright Brome
- Common Name(s): Upright brome, Meadow brome, Erect brome
- Scientific Name: Upright Brome
- Native to: Europe, southwest Asia, and northwest Africa
This tufted grass takes on a purplish hue. As the name suggests, it is a tall, upright grass and is mostly found in southern and central England.
14. Urn Plant
- Common Name(s): Urn plant, Silver vase
- Scientific Name: Aechmea fasciata
- Native to: Brazil
This plant, with its beautiful pattern of pink, spiky flowers, is often grown as a houseplant. They will only bloom under the right care and need to be at least three years old, so getting this reward can be a challenge.
- Common Name(s): Western gorse, Dwarf furze
- Scientific Name: Ulex-Gallii
- Native to: The Atlantic coasts of western Europe
Like many species of gorse, this is a “fire-climax” plant, meaning it catches fire easily but regrows afterward, with seeds adapted to germinate after being scorched by fire.
16. Upland Willow Oak
- Common Name(s): Upland Willow Oak
- Scientific Name: Quercus phellos
- Native to: North America
These trees are sometimes planted purely for ornamental reasons, but they can be used for lumber and paper production.
- Common Name(s): Citrus reticulata × Paradisi
- Scientific Name: Uglifruit, Uniqfruit, Jamaican tangelo
- Native to: Jamaica
This tangelo is a natural hybrid, discovered growing wild in 1917. The wrinkled green fruit was derided as ugly (but popular) by a supplier who ordered “more of that ugly fruit!” and gave the fruit its unique name.
18. Unicorn Plant
- Common Name(s): Unicorn plant, Devil's claw, Devil's horn, Ram's horn
- Scientific Name: Proboscidea
- Native to: Southeast North America
This plant is called a unicorn plant because its fruit is crescent-shaped with a curved “horn” at the end. This fruit can be eaten if picked and cooked before it ripens and turns woody.
19. Utah Agave
- Common Name(s): Utah Agave
- Scientific Name: Agave utahensis
- Native to: Southwest North America
The attractive spiky blue-green leaves have led to this plant’s cultivation as an ornamental. It was used for food and fiber by local Native Americans.
20. Umbrella Magnolia
- Common Name(s): Umbrella magnolia, Umbrella-tree
- Scientific Name: Magnolia tripetala
- Native to: Southeastern United States
The leaves of these trees sprout from the center outwards into a distinctive umbrella shape. The plant bears large cream-colored flowers which later turn into a bright red fruit.
21. Upas Tree
- Common Name(s): Upas tree, Bark cloth tree, Antiaris, False iroko, False mvule
- Scientific Name: Antiaris toxicaria
- Native to: Australia, tropical Asia, tropical Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines, Tonga
As the Latin name suggests, this tree contains intense toxins. Many island cultures in the region have used these trees to create toxic arrowheads. They are dipped into the tree’s sap to create weapons for hunting and warfare.
22. Ulmus Glabra
- Common Name(s): Wych elm, Scots elm
- Scientific Name: Ulmus glabra
- Native to: Europe
This tree is the most common elm in the north and west of the British Isles. It’s referred to as Scots elm for its former abundance in Scotland.
It is commonly grown for lumber and prized for its grain and coloring.
- Common Name(s): Nettles, Stinging Nettles
- Scientific Name: Urtica
- Native to: Northern Africa, North America, Asia, and Europe.
Urtica is the scientific name for common nettles. Most famously known for the itchy sting they impart when touched, they also make a great meal for various butterflies and caterpillars, and some like to make it into a soup.
24. Ultra Boy Tomato
- Common Name(s): Ultra Boy Tomato, Better Boy
- Scientific Name: Solanum lycopersicum ‘Better Boy'
- Native to: North America
This variety of tomato holds the Guinness world record for most fruit produced from a single plant.
25. Upright Clematis
- Common Name(s): Upright Clematis, Bush clematis
- Scientific Name: Clematis recta
- Native to: Asia
These plants produce silky, star-shaped white flowers and a lovely fragrance. Planted on a bank they will form a tumbling white cascade of flowers.