Kenji Suetsugu, a Japanese researcher at Kyoto University, discovered last week a whole new kind of orchid. The flower was found in April 2012 on the island of Takeshima in Kagoshima Prefecture.
Aside from the fact that finding a new type of plant is already a rare event, the recent discovered orchid has some unique characteristics, as it does not require photosynthesis to live and does not bloom at all.
The orchid is called Gastrodia Takeshimensis and was found by the scientist in a bamboo grove during a research trip. This was lucky since this particular orchid spends most of it’s time underground and only comes out for about a month in the springtime. The rest of the time it feeds off a supply of nutrition taken from fungi attached to its roots, the local press reports.
During the spring, Gastrodia takeshimensis grows about seven to 16 centimeters from the ground, but remains closed, without blooming.
There is only one other plant that does not need photosynthesis to survive and does not bloom, the Gastrodia clausa. Scientist Suetsugu says his next plan is to understand what conditions caused this species to appear.
Photo: Kyoto University