The demon orchid is the newest orchid species discovered by botanists. The flower only grows on the border of two departments in Colombia, so chances are close to zero to accidentally encounter it during a nature hike.
The Name Suits Is Appearance
The Demon Orchid, or the Telipogon diabolicus, received its name due to the unusual shape of its heart. Unlike other specimens from the orchid family, the growth that rises from its center resembles what we perceive as a demoniacal figure.
The lower part of the naturally-occurring demon shape resembles a heart. However, the upper part is where things get interesting. From what can be distinguished from the photographs, the center of the flower is shaped like the head of a demonic creature.
The Demon Orchid Even Has Claws
The mouth of the appearance is wide like the creature is screaming at the person looking at it. Above the shouting mouth-shaped excrescence, there is a smaller, bulbous growth that looks like a nose. Its color is even a shade paler than the rest of the “body.”
The “eyes” of the demon are a bright shade of pink, compared to the deep purple of the demonic creature. On the top of its “head,” there are some small spikes that may be categorized as horns.
Another set of spikes that emerge from the demon’s upper body can be considered either a pair of raised arms, or its pointy elf-like ears, or the main set of horns.
Moreover, the tiny creature is not the only threatening thing about the demon orchid. The flower’s petals are clawed, making it worthy of its name.
The height of the rare orchid specimen was measured to be (on average) between 5.5 and 9 centimeters.
The Flower Is Critically Endangered
The Demon Orchid was discovered by Prof Dariusz Szlachetko and Dr. Marta Kolanowska, both researchers affiliated with Gdansk University in Poland.
Currently, specimens of the flower were only discovered in a narrow area. The scientists encountered it in a dwarf montane forest situated at the border between the Nariño and Putumayo departments in southern Colombia.
Even though it was only recently discovered, the demon orchid is listed on the Red List of the IUCN as a” Critically Endangered Species.”
“In the most recent catalogue of Colombian plants almost 3600 orchid species representing nearly 250 genera are included. However, there is no doubt that hundreds of species occurring in this country remain undiscovered. Only in 2015 over 20 novelties were published based on material collected in Colombia,” wrote the scientists.
Photo Credits: Marta Kolanowska