How amazing is nature? A new glasslike orchid has been discovered in Japan.
As CNN reported, this genus — Spiranthes — are called “ladies’ tresses” for their resemblance to wavy locks of hair. The new species is growing unexpectedly in parks, gardens, and balconies around the country.
Spiranthes have a central stem, around which grow an ascending spiral of tiny, bell-shaped flowers that can be white, pink, purple or yellow. This one looks like “it’s spun from glass.”
“Spiranthes is the most familiar orchid in Japan and has been cherished for centuries,” said research leader Kenji Suetsugu, a professor in Kobe University’s Division of Biodiversity, Ecology and Speciation, adding the flower is mentioned in Japan’s oldest anthology of poetry that dates to 759.
While surveying the mainland for S. australis, Suetsugu discovered flowers presumed to be S. australis but lacking the typical hairy stems. That hairless variety also flowered around a month earlier than S. australis typically did, “another indication these rogue orchids might not be S. australis,” Suetsugu told CNN in an email.
There are around 28,000 species of known orchids which are broken down into around 850 small groups called a genus.
The new species has been given the name Spiranthes hachijoensis. Interestingly, as it can be found in familiar environments such as lawns and parks, and even in private gardens and on balconies, perhaps there are treasures lurking in your familiar surroundings. This shows that other new species may be hiding in common places, eliminating the need to venture into remote tropical rainforests to discover them.
“We were thrilled to have identified a new species of Spiranthes,” he told reporter Mindy Weisberger We are too.
Photo Credit: Kenji Suetsugu