Sunday, August 15, 2010

Porroglossum teaguei

In bloom now and almost always in bloom is another miniature orchid, Porroglossum teaguei.  This small plant is another in the Pleurothallid group of orchids, a group of mostly smaller species from Central and South America, many of them from high altitudes.

Porroglossum teaguei, described for the first time in 1980, is from Ecuador and is named after Walter Teague, its discoverer.  The plant is about 4 inches tall and the flowers about 1.5 inches, blooming successively on 7 inch inflorescences.  The flowers are translucent and have very long "tails."

The Porroglossums are very interesting for their mobile lip, which is on a kind of hinge and swings up when touched, trapping small insects against the column and thus pollinating the flowers.  The mechanism seems to work repeatedly as long as the flower is not pollinated and the lip, after springing up stays in that position from a few minutes to an hour.

The following photos show: (1) a close-up of the flower; (2) the flower with the lip in the ordinary position; (3) a flower with the lip "sprung;"; and (4) a single flower with the plant in the background (this flower happened to open upside down, but this has no effect on the mechanism that springs the lip).

No comments:

Post a Comment