Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Queen of the night reaches top ten

A night-blooming orchid is one of the Top Ten New Species list for 2012, created by the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University.

With nearly 25,000 species of orchids known, the astonishing night-blooming orchid, or Bulbophyllum nocturnum, is thought to be the only of its kind. Two scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Leiden University discovered and named the plant for its rare blooming habits. Found in Papua New Guinea, this orchid blooms only at night, between 10pm to the early morning hours when it closes. See more in Orchidmania in November.

This is the fifth year for this interesting record. The list, assisted by a committee of scientists from around the world, was released on May 23.

The 2012 list also features a teensy attack wasp, underworld worm, ancient ‘walking cactus’ creature, blue tarantula, Nepalese poppy, giant millipede, sneezing monkey, fungus named for a TV cartoon character and a beautiful but venomous jellyfish.

Nominations for the 2013 list – for species described in 2012 – may be made online.

Did you know? May 23 is the birthday of the Swedish botanist who created the current system of flora and fauna classification, Carolus Linnaeus. Since Linnaeus created this system in the 18th century, almost two million species have been identified and classified, and scientists estimate that there are between eight and twelve million species total on earth.