Orchids are usually showy, vibrant, and beautiful, but Gastrodia agnicellus, newly named this year from a forest in Madagascar, is quite the opposite. The nearly half-inch flowers of this orchid are small, brown, and some say ugly. After it’s pollinated, a stalk grows and forms fruit above the forest floor so that the dust-like seeds can disperse. The orchid depends on fungi for nutrition and has no leaves or any other photosynthetic tissue. The new orchid is threatened, but with a small range occurring within an already protected national park, the plants are safe for now.
- 14 Jan