How do you save Australia’s most endangered orchid? First you have to protect it from the people who profess to love it the most. With only two plants suspected in the wild, and 50 seeds in storage, botanists are racing time and orchid lovers to protect this beautiful flower. Via Scientific American. ~AR
An orchid sold for $100,000 in 1978. Now you can buy one for around $5 at your local hardware store. How did the orchid, once so rare, become oh so common? Taiwan’s orchid growers decide to start emulating the tech industry. No, really. ~AR
Breaking street art-garden news! Looks like Banksy is a fan of orchids. But then again, who isn’t?
The Complex Structure of Bucket Orchids
Orchids of the genus Coryanthes have evolved along with orchid bees, and depend on each other for reproduction.
Male bees are attracted to an pheromone laced wax produced under the orchid’s helmet. The wax is stored by the male and are used in courtship. However, the helmet is slippery and bees sometimes fall into the fluid filled bucket below.
Once in the bucket, their wings are wet, which prevent them from flying. The walls of the bucket are smooth and lined with downward pointing hairs, preventing the insect from escaping through climbing. A small opening towards the front of the flower is the only way out.
As the bee climbs through the narrow opening, they must press their bodies against sticky pollen packets. These are essentially glued to the bee’s body as it tries to escape. In order for fertilisation to happen, the pollen from one plant must be transferred to the stigma of another plant.
After the bee flies off and visits another flower, it goes through a similar ordeal. This time, as it exits the bucket, the pollen packet on its back brushes past the stigma of the new flower, thus achieving pollination.
And orchids aren’t the only deceitful plants out there luring unsuspecting bugs to hassle and humiliation. Don’t forget the Amazon water lily, jack-in-the-pulpit, and the sapucaia tree. All have their methods, most of them tricky. —MN
That’s a familiar wall for obsessive orchid collectors (we have a bunch in the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections!). Sooner or later, you leave the pots behind and occupy an epiphytic space of…driftwood and tree bark. And you stand in front of it, thinking to yourself, “Life is preeeetty good.” —MN
Today’s photo is of a Vanilla plant model being constructed.
© The Field Museum, CSB36789, Photographer Charles Carpenter.
Milton Copulos, standing near a window, trimming Vanilla model. Stanley Field Plant Reproduction laboratory [Botany]. Field Columbian Museum
5x7 glass negative
The vanilla pod is actually the fruit of the tropical orchid, Vanilla planifolia. It is the only orchid cultivated en masse for industrial purposes. ~AR
Jessica M. Clarke is the Garden’s Associate Curator of Glasshouse Collections. She’s also a woman that knows how to coordinate her nails with truly cool orchid species. She recently sent me these photos of an African miniature orchid on display in the orchid display case in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory’s Cloud Forest house. Aside from looking cool Bulbophyllum falcatum is “interesting because it’s rachis is very wide as compared to the size of its’ flowers … it appears as though the flowers are emerging from a paddle-shaped leaf.” And there’s your useless piece of trivia for the next boring cocktail party you find yourself at! ~AR
I received the Lytro camera yesterday at the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium. I am interested in using it for photographing plant specimens that require broad depth of field, but I could not resist giving it a test drive at the 2013 Orchid Show.
Click the image to change the focal point. Double click to zoom in and out.
Submitted by Michael Bevens, Information Manager for Digitization, Herbarium
Beautiful and fragrant pansy orchids @nybg #orchidshow (at New York Botanical Garden)
Some of our favorite “zoological” orchid specimens all clumped together in a flighty run of birds and bees. I don’t think we’re trumpeting these in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory like we are Darwin’s star and maybe even the vanilla orchid, but if I happen upon any, I’ll let you know! —MN
Six amazing orchids that look like animals:
- Monkey Face Orchid (Dracula simia) - These rare orchids only grow in the cloud forests of southeastern Ecuador and Peru at elevations of 1,000-2,000 meters on the side of mountains. Smells like a ripe orange.
- Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) - It resembles a female bumblebee visiting a pink flower to attract the attention of male bees.
- Pink Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.) - Looks like it has a little bird’s head guarding the flower nectar.
- White Egret Orchid (Habenaria radiata) - The flower looks like the bird is spreading its fluffy white feathers, getting ready to take off.
- Holy Ghost Orchid(Peristeria elata) - has a beautiful dove shaped center.
- Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana major). It’s a small orchid, about 50 cm tall, that grows in eastern and southern Australia.
^These are so cool! Orchids are an amazing group of plants — they are often highly endemic and specialized; many have very specific mutualisms with insects and fungi. Unfortunately, this high degree of specialization means they are vulnerable to extinction.
Flowers from the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden. The show runs until April 22, 2013.
In case you’re wondering, yes those are the real colors of The Orchid Show! No filters needed here. ~AR
It takes flight but will never really fly.
DSC_0213 (Large) on Flickr.
Awh man, that’s poignant! ~AR
#orchidshow (at New York Botanical Garden)
I like this shot taken at one of our Orchid Evening events. It’s orchids and cocktails and tropical warmth and beauty and splendor all rolled into one evening. It’s pretty excellent! And guess what? We have just added a slew of new dates too, including Saturday, March 30 and Fridays, April 5, 12, and 19. ~AR