Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Let's get small!


Fall changes my flower focus from outside to inside, and on a stroll through our glasshouse the other day this specimen, although not in full bloom when it is truly dazzling, caught my eye. This is an orchid with a rather typical orchid flower, which is to say small. Most people have the wrong idea about orchids because the ones we grow, the ones we use to pursue mates, and the ones we use for decoration are those species with large flowers, but small flowers are more the rule. This particular orchid from Costa Rican rain forests (Pleurothallis guanacastensis) has flowers only 8 mm tall from top to bottom of the open perianth. Who knows what tiny insect pollinates such flowers? An orange perianth is not a real common orchid flower color. Such plants also live up there in the canopy, not down here where biologist roam more safely, which makes them hard to study. Here in North America you would be surprised how often people fail to notice orchids because of their small flowers, except maybe the lady slippers; lots of small green, green-white, and whiteish flowers among our native terrestrial orchids.

5 comments:

Justin said...

The little ones are often times the most interesting.

Anonymous said...

Deer Facter,

surle a spelin erra

Pleurothallis...

The Phytophactor said...

Shurly sow. All the wright letters were there! Thanks for catching that.

Carol Steel 5050 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol Steel 5050 said...

Let's try this again without spelling problems! I enjoy your blogs. There is so much good information in wise, tidy and humorous packages. Thank you for all that you share, rants, photos, and acerbic commentary on the world.