Orchids are lovely plants that colonize many parts of the world adding to the magnificent array of colors that nature has to offer. The relatively big family of orchids which scientists have managed to examine and name seems to be growing further, basing on the discovery of a new member named the ‘nocturnal’ orchid. The plant which scientists claim to be the first of its kind in the family of orchids is said to bloom in conditions that naturally put other plants to ‘sleep’. The plant which was discovered in one of the islands in South Pacific is said to require complete darkness to bud.
Scientists who have had time to analyze and describe this night-blooming orchid are from the renowned Royal Botanical Gardens in England associating with Dutch scientists from the Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis. The new species was added to the orchid family under the name Bulbophyllum nocturnum.
Its collection was made during a fieldwork procedure by Ed de Vogel, a Dutch, who noticed the mysterious plant at a logging site in the volcanic region of Papua New Guinea. The discovery was partial because the plant habits were not known until later when the surprising nighttime characteristics were revealed.
Research on the night-blooming orchid was carried out in De Vogel’s native home, Netherlands, where it was cultivated and under greenhouse conditions and successfully thrived. As were the expectations of the scientists, the plant had to be from a rare group with strange characteristics under the genus Bulbophyllum and hence they had to wait for the plant to bloom.
It did not take long before the plant produced buds but to the disappointment of the researchers, the buds withered before they opened. The main finding therefore took place accidentally because, amidst the mystery of the plant de Vogel decided to take a plant home.
As it approached midnight, the plant opened up one of its buds and which revealed a rare bloom which had yet to be recorded in science. The observations that followed showed that the plant also bloomed two more times 12 hours apart but still withered.
The Bulbophyllum nocturnum was distinguished from other known night blooming plants such as the corpse flower and the horror tree by fact that it opened at night and closed before daylight broke. The former plants had characteristics which included staying open both day and night therefore the new orchid was special.
The discovery of the night-blooming orchid has been very significant and has prompted scientists to engage in more research to find out more about it. The main features up for research are the reason why it blooms in the dark and its mechanisms for pollination. Scientists have however, made some assumptions that the orchid might be dependent on midge flies for pollination as they forage at night.
There were several journals that had the discovery published as it drew the attention of many botanical scientists. The stage is now set for more research to reveal more facts about the nocturnal plant life.
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