Viral images show specimens of a plant with flowers in the shape of the female body. See Example( s )
Collected via Internet, July 2016
A recurring motif in South Asian mythology and folk art is known in Sri Lanka as “nari-lata” (or “nari-lata-vela,” and sometimes “ndri-lata”), usually translated as “woman vine.”
One old story about the nari-lata repeated in an 1891 volume of The Theosophist holds that its beauty is such that meditating hermits are unable to hold their concentration in its presence:
The hermits, who live on withered and wind-borne leaves, are tempted by the sight of naari-lata flowers and lose their devotion; hence if any one who lives sumptuously on milk, curdle and other nourishing food says that he has subjugated his senses, it is like saying that Maha Meru is floating on the surface of the ocean.
For all its supposed temptations, traditional folk art depictions of the dreaded (at least by monks) nari-lata tend to be sedate and unprovocative, at least to modern eyes. This photo from a 1906 volume cataloging the antiquities collection of the Colombo Museum of Sri Lanka shows an embroidered betel bag with the nari-lata design:
In 2008, the Internet produced its own full-color, updated version of the nari-lata plant” — now spelled “narilatha,” and also referred to as “nareepol,” “nareephol” or “nariphon” tree — featuring improbably lifelike flowers in the shape of women’s nude bodies dangling from high branches in a region sometimes identified as the Himalayas, sometimes as Thailand:
If such a flower or fruit actually exists outside of folklore, it’s unknown to botanists. We haven’t found reference to such a plant in any handbooks or textbooks of botany. That having been said, neither are there obvious signs that the images and video have been tampered with, which leaves only one logical explanation for the existence of the one-of-a-kind photographic “evidence” above: namely, that the “narilatha flowers” shown were carefully constructed physical props designed to fool us, entertain us, or both.