Newly-discovered species of orchids look like devil’s head

By: | Published: July 12, 2016 2:00 PM

Scientists have identified a new species of orchids - that have features resembling a devil's head - from a lone and unique population of about 30 flowers growing on the small patch in Colombia.

Named after its demonic patterns, the new orchid species, Telipogon diabolicus, grows a stem measuring between 5.5 to 9 cm in height. (Reuters)Named after its demonic patterns, the new orchid species, Telipogon diabolicus, grows a stem measuring between 5.5 to 9 cm in height. (Reuters)

Scientists have identified a new species of orchids – that have features resembling a devil’s head – from a lone and unique population of about 30 flowers growing on the small patch in Colombia.

With its only known habitat restricted to a single population spread across a dwarf montane forest at the border between departments Putumayo and Narino in southern Colombia, the devilish orchid is assigned as a Critically Endangered species in the IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List.

Named after its demonic patterns, the new orchid species, Telipogon diabolicus, grows a stem measuring between 5.5 to 9 cm in height.

It was discovered by Marta Kolanowska and Dariusz Szlachetko, both affiliated with University of Gdansk in Poland, together with Ramiro Medina Trejo from Colombia.

Although the curious orchid could be mistakenly taken for a few other species, there are still some easy to see physical traits that make the flower stand out.

Apart from the demon’s head hidden at the heart of its colours, the petals themselves are characteristically clawed.

This feature has not been found in any other Colombian species of the genus.

“In the most recent catalogue of Colombian plants almost 3600 orchid species representing nearly 250 genera are included,” researchers said.

“However, there is no doubt that hundreds of species occurring in this country remain undiscovered. Only in 2015 over 20 novelties were published based on material collected in Colombia,” they said.

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