Newly Discovered Orchid Species Resembles Devil's Head

Posted on July 13, 2016

Telipogon diabolicus orchid closeup

A newly discovered species of orchid looks like a devil's head. The heart portion of the orchid flowers is the part resembling a devil or demon. It has been named Telipogon diabolicus after its demonic patterns.

The rare orchid is known only for a spread across a dwarf montane forest in southern Colombia. A lone and unique population of about 30 of the orchids grow in a small patch of land between the two Colombian departments Putumayo and NariƱo. It is assigned as a Critically Endangered species in the IUCN Red List.

The new orchid was discovered by Dr Marta Kolanowska and Prof Dariusz Szlachetko, both affiliated with University of Gdansk, Poland, together with Dr Ramiro Medina Trejo, Colombia. It is reddish to dark violet-maroon in color. The stem measures between 5.5 to 9 centimeters in height. A research paper on the species was published here in the journal, PhytoKeys.

The authors of the paper say, "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.."

Telipogon diabolicus orchids


Photos: Marta Kolanowska