Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - teeny orchid

Friday again?  Were did the week go? Here's a great fabulous flower that TPP just happened to notice in the greenhouse the other day. But it's easy to miss even though it is one of the few really orange flowers in our collection. This is an orchid, and contrary to what most people think, most orchid flowers are fairly small, if not tiny, although the smallest orchid flower is a ridiculous 2 mm tall. In comparison this orchid, Pleurothallis guanacastensis, is a whopping three times bigger at 6-7 mm tall. When you see flowers like this, obviously providing a visual display, you do wonder what type of little critter is attracted to them and pollinates them? Whatever it is you can see the little space they fit into between the labellum (lower center petal) and the column above housing the stigma and pollinia, a space which is all of 1-1.5 mm. In the tropics such little puzzles abound, organisms about which we know next to nothing. It's been named, it lives in lowland tropical forests as an epiphyte in Costa Rica. And that's about it. 
And congratulations to my Tico friends for their big "football" win over the USA. 

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