A new orchid has been found in a "dwarf" Colombian forest, but the plant's tiny habitat is not its only claim to floral fame: the orchid's flowers resemble the head of a screaming devil.
The orchid is appropriately named Telipogon diabolicus, or "Diabolical Telipogon." The second word refers to a large genus of flowering plants in the orchid family. It's described in the latest issue of the journal PhytoKeys.
Lead author Marta Kolanowska of The University of Gdańsk clarifies, "The specific name refers to the distinctive gynostemium which resembles (a) devil's head."
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The gynostemium is a reproductive structure found in certain plants. It's derived from the fusion of both male and female parts -- the stamens and pistil -- into a single organ.
Kolanowska and her colleagues Dariusz Szlachetko and Ramiro Medina Trejo discovered the orchid in what they describe as a "dwarf montane forest" between the provinces (called departments) of Putamayo and Nariño in southern Colombia.
Not many of the plants are known to exist.
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