Suspected Scammers Trick Unsuspecting Buyers With ‘Cat-Faced’ Flowers: REPORT

(Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

John Oyewale Contributor
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Suspected scammers have appeared in online marketplaces selling seeds of flowers that purportedly resemble cats’ faces, according to a fact-check.

“Cat’s eye flower is named for the special arrangement of its leaves, which resemble a cat’s eyes,” the description of one of the products, named “Cat eye dazzle” as listed on eBay, reads in part. The flower supposedly produces year-round blooms, according to the product’s title.

The seller advertised another product, “Amazing plants Cat eye dazzle 50 seeds,” as a new listing on eBay. The seeds cost £19.99 (about $25) according to the listings. Both products, however, appear to be the same, only relisted, according to customer reviews.

The plant, identified by the seller as “[t]he Cat’s Eye flower” purportedly had the scientific name Cryptanthus bivittatus and was described as “a stunning plant that belongs to the bromeliad family,” according to the product listings.

However, Cryptanthus bivittatus is the scientific name of the tropical plant commonly called Earth Star and native to Brazil, according to North Carolina State University’s Cooperative Extension.

The seller warned that “the picture you see and the plant that will grow will not be 100% the same.” Nevertheless, one buyer described it as an “excellent transaction” with the “item [being] as described” in a customer review. A few other buyers echoed similar sentiments. Some others, however, complained that they did not receive the seeds, “the seller did not refund” and the tracking number was invalid.

The seller was registered on eBay as a private seller, with eBay explaining that, consequently, “consumer rights stemming from EU consumer protection law do not apply” to the seller. (RELATED: Alleged Scammers Busted After Using Fake Images To Advertise The Shoddiest ‘Immersive’ Experience You’ve Ever Seen)

The images of the cat-faced flowers — which garnered much attention across social media in April — are fake, the fact checker Snopes alleged. “They were created by artificial intelligence, according to scans of the pictures with the AI-detection tools on and,” Snopes reported. “Adobe Photoshop may also have been used to tweak the pictures.”

The products on eBay were located in Denpasar, the capital of the Indonesian tourist hotspot province of Bali, according to the product listings. However, the sales were part of a suspected scam that might have originated from China, according to Snopes.

“As of this writing, seeds for the flower are for sale on,, and Domain registration information for these websites point to China,” Snopes reported. “Here’s how we know: Searches for the domain names of the four websites with display the name of the organization ‘Alibaba Cloud Computing Ltd. d/b/a HiChina (’ and mentioned ‘Hangzhou, China.'”

Suspected seed scams such as this were rife across a variety of online platforms, according to Snopes.

There is, however, a flower that strongly resembles an animal: the “Monkey Orchid,” Dracula simia, native to Ecuador and Peru and first discovered in 1978, according to The Huntington Library.