New Orchid Species Has Been Dubbed 'World's Ugliest Orchid'

By 4 months ago

Orchids are known as some of the most beautiful species of vibrant and delicate flowers on Earth. Well, except for this one.

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London, described a new species of orchid found deep in the forests of Madagascar as quite the hideous feature.

Gastrodia agnicellus—one of 156 species of plants and fungus named by Kew scientists and their partners around the world this year—has officially been dubbed "the ugliest orchid in the world."

The plants are a threatened species, but they do grow in a national park, which affords them some protection.

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"The 11 mm flowers of this orchid are small, brown and rather ugly," Kew said. The orchid has no leaves or photosynthetic tissue, depending on fungi for food.

Other discoveries included six new species of webcap toadstool mushrooms in the United Kingdom and a bizarre shrub found in southern Nambia ten years ago.

Botanist Wessel Swanepoel was unable to place the shrub in any genus, so he paged Kew's molecular expert, Felix Forest, and the rest of his team. The scientists discovered that the orchid was not only a new species but a new genus and family called Tiganophyton karansense.

Although around 2,000 plants are discovered each year new families are usually published once each year.

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