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Orchids are not often called ugly, but that is how the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London, described a new species of the normally vibrant and delicate flower discovered in the forests of Madagascar.
Gastrodia agnicellus, one of 156 plants and fungal species named by Kew scientists and their partners around the world in 2020, has been crowned “the ugliest orchid in the world.”
“The 11-millimeter flowers of this orchid are small, brown and rather ugly,” Kew said in its list of the top 10 discoveries of the year. The orchid depends on fungi for nutrition and has no leaves or any other photosynthetic tissue.
Although assessed as a threatened species, the plants have some protection because they are located in a national park.
Among the other discoveries officially named this year were six new species of webcap toadstool mushrooms in the United Kingdom and a strange shrub encountered in southern Namibia in 2010.
The shrub has bizarre scaly leaves and grows in extremely hot natural salt pans, hence its name Tiganophyton, derived from the Latin tigani, or “frying pan,” and phyton, or “plant.” (Reuters)
This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.