Ganesh garnish

By Phil Plait | October 25, 2008 12:00 pm

So this guy thinks that his "unusual" amaranth planet looks like the Indian elephant god Ganesh:

An amaranth plant shaped like an elephant

Now, maybe it’s just me, but to me it looks like a plain old elephant. But then, I don’t worship Ganesh. Lots of people do, though, and so of course this means the guy is getting lots of visitors, and he thinks it has cured his illnesses. How miraculous that this pachydermic plant happened to grow in the garden of a believer!

… or is it? Amaranths grow into all sorts of odd shapes. It didn’t take me long on Flickr to find one like this:

An amaranth plant shaped like Cthulhu

If you worship Cthulhu, you’re in luck! Though, if you worship Cthulhu, you’re probably never in luck.

When I lived in Northern California, amaranths like this were everywhere, including right outside my building. They would constantly crack me up. Why? Because I suspect they were trying to tell me something:

An amaranth plant with attitude

And as a final snark, let me add something: the name of this particular variety of amaranth? It’s called Elephant Head.

Images from Santa Rosa’s Crescent Moon Farm and pixelviz’s Flickr set. Tip o’ the turban to Hemant Mehta.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humor, Pareidolia, Religion

Comments (23)


    Phil, I think that particular variety of amaranth in the last picture is called Digitus Impudicus.

  2. Elephant pareidolia? I can see the resemblance (and I would love on of those plants, very pretty) but seriously the ridiculous extremes people can take pareidolia knows no bounds.

  3. Viewer 3

    Any time a plant gives you the bird, you know nature hates you.

  4. tjm220

    “So this guy thinks that his “unusual” amaranth planet ”

    Hey Phil, I think it’s a plant he has rather than a planet.

  5. Very pretty plant, very dumb human…

  6. Kathy A.

    While I often think my garden is out to get me (particularly when I turn the compost pile in July), I’ve never had a plant flip me the bird. :)

  7. Ganesh? Nawh, looks more like the Flying Spaghetti Monster to me.


  8. Scott

    Cthulhu for President!

    Why settle for the lesser evil!

  9. Danniel B.

    That’s awesome, I want one fo those Cthulhu plants.

  10. Sili

    It’s called Elephant Head.

    It’s A MIRACLE!

    HOW else could the cultivator know that, lo, these many years later the GOD GANESH would incarnate himself into this blessed plant, if he hadn’t be DIVINELY inspired when he named it???!!!

    Take THAT! you silly cephalopodonomers!

  11. Gary Ansorge

    Phil, check your email. I just sent you some really baaaad periodelia from the plant world,,,so bad, I wonder if they’re even showable here?

    GAry 7

  12. That’s not Cthulhu… that’s His Noodly Appendage…


  13. Nathan

    Rob the Lurker and ccpeterson saw what I saw…. it’s not Cthulhu, it’s clearly FSM! All hail His Noodly foray into botany!

  14. Kimpatsu

    Don’t show the Cthulu amarinth to PZ, Phil…

  15. Well, why not? If Jesus can show up in an asparagus, why not Ganesh in an amaranth? One’s as likely as the other – all in the eye of the beholder. (Which, I guess, is why I see Hemingway instead of Jesus…)

  16. Hey I though this blog was going to keep its language in check!

    (I keed, I keed!)

  17. Zar

    It seems that Snuffleupagus has blessed us with his earthly presence.

  18. India is dotted with temples where the idol is a “swyambhu” or self-made – a rock that looks like this god or that, for example. My own home village has no less than five swyambhus, some more obvious than others – the main deity of the place is a lingam-shaped anthill. The lingam at Amarnath is really a stalactite, to give another example.

    It’s pareidolia of course, but at the same time, some of those things are just damn beautiful, and sometimes I wish I could just see them without the tonnes of ornamentation that prevailing custom heaps on them… But they’re beautiful nonetheless.

    I think this one would be looked upon by my South Indian Brahmin compatriots as something akin to Pentacostalists turning cartwheels in the aisles… Considering some of the better examples I’ve seen, it’s rather unconvincing, besides… ūüėČ

  19. filip

    Man, they all look like penises to me. Freud was right.

  20. Wow, I never expected to hear so much Cthulhu talk on BA.
    Vote Cthulhu – FSM 2008!

  21. Tom

    WOW I’m totally convinced! Ganesh does exist…Is he one of the Christian gods?

  22. nora moes

    its a lode of stupid stuff you will not have luck of these plants so people who belive they can are wacky!!!!


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