Tuesday, December 27, 2011

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World's first night-flowering orchid discovered

ON A REMOTE ISLAND in Papua New Guinea, scientists have uncovered the world's only known orchid to produce flowers exclusively at night that die by the next morning.


Of more than 25,000 species in the orchid, only a handful flower in the evening. The new orchid, dubbed Bulbophyllum nocturnum, is the first known one whose flowers shrivel and fall off before dawn breaks.



Dendrobium chrysopterum - discovered bybotanist Andre Schuiteman in 1990 in PNG and described by him and Ed de Vogel. Found only in the forests of Eastern New Guinea.


Bulbophyllum nocturnum is the first known orchid whose flowers bud at night and shrivel and fall off before dawn breaks.


Bulbophyllum xanthomelanon is a member of the section Epicrianthes, closely related to Bulbophyllum nocturnum. They resent disturbance and are difficult to cultivate.


Bulbophyllum tarantula. New species of the orchid family are found all the time. This relative of Bulbophyllum nocturnum was found recently by the same team of researchers and is endemic to PNG.


Bulbophyllum macrorhopalon. Found in New Guinea at elevations around 1800m, this orchid blooms in the autumn, a very short bloom with a single flower.


Bulbophyllum macneiceae - Also found in Papua New Guinea, this orchid is one of the 18 species of Epicrianthes endemic to the island.


Bulbophyllum johannuli. This rare member of the Epicrianthes section is found only in the Bismarck archipelago in PNG.

Bulbophyllum cimicinum. Also found in the Bismarck archipelago, this single-flower orchid needs dry seasons to survive.

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