Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Cuban orchids

Cuban tree ferns
Great story for the New Year. Spanish researchers are celebrating the discovery of two Laeliinae in Cuba.

Scientists from the University of Vigo, in collaboration with the Environmental Services Unit at the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park (Cuba), have named the orchids Tetramicra riparia and Encyclia navarroi.

According to the press, the name T riparia is a nod to its discovery along stony streams in the mountains of Baracoa, one of the rainiest and least explored areas in Cuba. It is barely the size of a small coin.

Mountains of Baracoa
The second new orchid, from the western tip of the island, dwarfs its neighbour with showy purple and green petals are similar to a daffodil in appearance, spreading more than 2.5 inches, with up to 20 blooms on one plant.

Both new species are deceit pollinators, enticing bees to spread their pollen without a reward. One mystery they aim to solve is if the deceit orchids have a greater taxonomic and genetic diversity than other nectar-producing species.