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Two New Orchid Species Discovered in Cuba

Two New Orchid Species Discovered in Cuba

orchid speciesResearchers have found two new orchid species in Cuba recently. Cuba is located in the Caribbean, a region that is home to over 25,000 orchid species, and it has the ideal growing conditions for orchids.

Learn About the New Discoveries:

One of the two new species was given the name Tetramicra riparia, which implies that it was discovered along the rocky streams of the remote Baracoa Mountains in the eastern part of Cuba. This orchid is very delicate, and it has little white flowers that are no larger than the width of a dime. The base of the plant is unusually wide and sturdy, and its pedicel is nearly four times the size of its column.

Discovered in the western end of Cuba, the other new orchid is much larger in size. Each plant can produce up to 20 flowers, which are purple and green in color, and measure over 2½ inches wide. Named Encyclia navarroi, this orchid is an epiphyte, and it prefers to grow on plumeria and ficus.

According to a researcher from the University of Vigo in Spain, Angel Vale, the two new orchid species were both deceit pollinators, meaning that they lure bees into helping them pollinate without giving anything in return. This makes them similar to many other species of orchids that do not reward pollinators such as insects or birds with nectar or other substances.

Vale and his team of researchers are conducting studies on orchids in the Greater Antilles. They are trying to find out how the plants have evolved throughout history and how pollinators have affected their development. Details about the discovery of the two new orchid species were published in Systematic Botany in October, 2012 and Annales Botanici Fennici in April, 2012.

Interested in new orchid species? Read about the possible “Orchid of the Future” here!

Photo credit: Angel Vale