Deceptive New Zealand Orchids Pretend That They’re Mushrooms

Radio New Zealand exposes a tale of botanical deceit.┬áCorybas, also known as Spider Orchids, are strange little plants which inhabit the New Zealand forest floor. Humans can’t smell their mushroom-scented blooms, but fungus gnats can. They’re tricked into pollinating the flowers. To study how that works, orchid researcher Carlos Lehnebach converted his bathtub into an experimental greenhouse. He’s discovered that a single species of orchid is, in reality, five separate species. He’s also found that each one has a slightly different scent, and attracts a different type of fungus gnat. Check out the short video below to see the flowers and insect.

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