Underground Orchid Reveals Plant Evolution

Australian scientists recently celebrated the successful cultivation of the bizarre Eastern Underground Orchid. Now, they’re learning about plant genetics from its close cousin, the Western Underground Orchid. This weird plant is also a Rhizanthella species, and lives below ground, except when its flowers peek through the soil. Without green leaves for photosynthesis, it survives by feeding off a fungus. It has fewer chloroplast genes than any other plant. The shrunken genetic code will help scientists better understand chloroplasts, and how plants lose genes that they no longer need. Those are big contributions to science from such a strange, small orchid.

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3 Comments on “Underground Orchid Reveals Plant Evolution”

  1. nancy Says:

    I heard of underground orchids before, but i never saw pictures. There is a good picture of the flowers inthe article. Thanks for your post!

  2. TR312 Says:

    interesting info
    appreciate this post

  3. Troy Green Says:

    Freaky. That is a very weird plant.