HomeLatest ArticlesJapanese scientists discover new species of "glass" orchid flowers

Japanese scientists discover new species of “glass” orchid flowers

A new species of orchid with delicate glass-like flowers has been discovered by Japanese scientists who found the pink and white plant hidden in plain sight. Despite its presence in Japanese parks and gardens, it took Kobe University researchers ten years to confirm that the plant – nicknamed ‘Spiranthes hachijoensis’ – was a previously unknown species.

“It was a surprise to discover a new species of spiranth that is so common that you can see it in parks, gardens and among potted plants,” research leader Kenji Suetsugu told AFP on Thursday. Some of the samples were “from flower pots and gardens”, including those stored at a high school in Japan’s central Gifu region, the phytology professor said.

“Thanks to its peculiar appearance and beautiful flowers reminiscent of glassmaking, this flower has long been loved by people,” the university said in a press release. The plant, with its spiral flowers, was even mentioned in Japan’s oldest anthology of poems, the 8th century “Manyoshu”.

The discovery of a new type of spiranth, sometimes known as “ladies’ curls”, was announced last week in the Journal of Plant Research. It was given the name “hachijoensis” because many specimens were found on Tokyo’s Hachijojima Island.

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