Studies Find New Orchid Tricks

Two recent news stories highlight fascinating discoveries about orchids. First, from the Imperial College of London, there’s news about orchid trickery. Scientists studied Trichocentrum ascendens, a member of the Oncidium family. Its¬†cheery yellow blooms don’t have any reward for its pollinators. Instead, it mimics flowers of neighboring plants which are full of oil. The orchid tricks bees into visiting, and they pollinate the plants. The flowers may look distinct to human eyes, but the ruse is meant for bees. Biology professor Vincent Savolainen explains:

“These reward-giving flowers have evolved a very special colour called bee-UV-green, that is highly distinguishable to bees’ sensitive eyes. The Trichocentrum ascendens and other Oncidiinae orchids copy the special colour so precisely that bees are unable to distinguish between the flowers, visiting an orchid and pollinating them without the reward they may expect.”

Next, AoB Blog reports on an orchid pollinated by raindrops. Acampe rigida is a pretty Vanda relative which lives in Southeast Asian jungles. It flowers during rainstorms. This is unusual, since most orchids bloom during dry weather. Scientists observed raindrops knocking around the¬†Acampe pollen, causing the flowers to pollinate themselves. This is the first time this strange reproduction method has been proven for any plant. It’s an innovative strategy, allowing this species to take advantage of a pollinator which is as reliable as rain.

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One Comment on “Studies Find New Orchid Tricks”

  1. Danisa Flowers Says:

    Thanks for sharing this awesome discoveries. This discovery is very useful in growing orchids. I’m going to share this interesting news with my friends who are also fond of orchids.