New “amazing” orchid species discovered in Japan



Considered the queen of flowers: the orchid. As many as 25,000 different species are known worldwide. Now researchers in Japan have discovered a new “wonderful” species with its extensively researched plants.

Because Kenji Sutsugu of Kobe University and his team first found them on the island of Hachijo-jima in the Pacific Ocean, which is administratively part of Tokyo, they named the orchid “Speranthes hashionsis.” The researchers were even more amazed that the new species grows in completely inconspicuous surroundings such as gardens and even on balconies.

And its pink petals resemble “glassworks” of art, scientists describe their discovery in the “Journal of Planet Research.” The new species belongs to the genus Spiranthes, the most popular species in Japan and appreciated for centuries.

Hairless specimens were initially overlooked

For a long time, researchers believed that the Spiranthes on Japan’s main island of Honshu were a single species: “Spiranthes australis.” However, during extensive field research focused on specimens of Japanese Spiranthes, Suetsugu encountered several populations of an unknown Spiranthes taxon with hairless flower stalks.

The unknown variety often grows alongside Spiranthes australis, she said, but it blooms about a month earlier. Because Spiranthes australis features hairy flower stems, hairless specimens can simply be overlooked.

The fact that such a new species has been found in Japan, with its plants so intensely researched, and that it grows in ordinary parks, gardens and balconies, shows that one does not have to travel to distant tropical rainforests to make such discoveries.

note: This report is part of an automated service provided by the German Press Agency (dpa), which operates under strict journalistic rules. It is not edited or vetted by AZ Online Editors. Questions and hints please


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