'World's Ugliest Orchid' Discovered This Year

By 3 months ago

A new species of this delicate and vibrant flower has been discovered this year—and frankly, it's hideous.

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London, described a new species of orchid found in the forests of Madagascar as "the ugliest orchid in the world."

Gastrodia agnicellus was one of 156 species of plants and fungus named by Kew scientists and their partners around the world this year. The plants are a threatened species, but they do grow in a national park, which offers them some protection.

Fortunately, it doesn't seem like many people will be picking them for bouquets.

"The 11 mm flowers of this orchid are small, brown and rather ugly," Kew said. The orchid, which has no leaves or photosynthetic tissue, relies on fungus for sustenance.

Other discoveries included six new species of webcap toadstool mushrooms in the United Kingdom and a strange shrub uncovered in 2010 in southern Nambia.

After he was unable to place the shrub in any genus, botanist Wessel Swanepoel contacted Kew scientist Felix Forest and his team. It was then revealed that the orchid was not only a new species but a new genus and family: Tiganophyton karansense.

Although around 2,000 plants are discovered each year, new families are generally only published once every year.

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