A Journal exploring the value of plants and flowers
4 min read City & Culture Books & Films

5 iconic plants in movies

Words by Jonas Kooyman

They might not be able to speak, nor can they win an Oscar, but plants and flowers can still steal the show in movies. Let these five iconic green stars inspire you!

Léon, 1994

This movie revolves around Léon (Jean Reno), a New York based hitman, who takes in 12-year-old Mathilda (Natalie Portman’s breakthrough role) after her family is murdered. She becomes his protégée and learns the assassin’s trade. You might consider Léon’s silent green friend a leading character: with religious dedication, the contract-killer takes care of his plant and even saves it during a dangerous moment.

Want one? This cute plant (pictured above) with its beautiful zebra striped leaves is an Aaglaonema.

Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus

Jamie (Michael Cera), a shaggy and self-absorbed young American, travels through Chile with one goal in mind: to experience the mysteries of a local hallucinogen – the mescaline-bearing San Pedro cactus. Along the way he invites the eccentric ‘Crystal Fairy’ (Gaby Hoffman – you may know her from the hit TV series, Girls) and his three Chilean companions to join him, who also seek the magical herb.

Want one? Visit your local plant shop or gardening centre and ask for the San Pedro cactus.

Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus, 2013, Juan de Dios & Pablo Larraín

Adaptation, 2002

The self-loathing Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) is hired to write the screenplay adaptation for Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief. The screenplay revolves around Orlean (Meryl Streep), who has a secret lover: the orchid-stealing John Laroche (Chris Cooper). He wants to * spoiler alert * steal ghost orchids in order to manufacture a drug that causes ‘fascination’. Say what?

Want one? Make sure you know what you’re up to: the mysterious ghost orchid is native to Cuba, Florida and the Bahamas and should, therefore, be kept in a terrarium to maintain high humidity levels.

Pocahontas, 1995

Sweet 90s memories! This Disney classic features the blooming romance between the English soldier Captain John Smith and the Native American Pocahontas coming to life when colonists invade seventeenth-century Virginia. When in need of advice, the free-spirited Pocahontas turns to Grandmother Willow, an ancient (talking) tree. She serves as a spiritual adviser who is both wise AND comical.

Want one? Be warned, your balcony will be too small to house a weeping willow. Talking to one in the local park is your best shot – no guarantees she’ll talk back though.

Little Shop of Horrors, 1986

This iconic American rock musical horror comedy tells the story of a nerdy florist who finds his chance for success and romance with the help of a giant man-eating plant who demands constant feeding. Beware: after seeing this movie you might get a little cautious of the green darlings in your living room.

Want one? How about getting a carnivorous plant? Hopefully it won’t demand more than a wee fly every once in a while.

The Little Shop of Horrors, 1986, The Geffen Company/Dreamworks