To End 2020, We've Discovered the 'World's Ugliest Orchid'

By 4 months ago

According to scientists, a new species of orchid looks like a "soul-sucking, eyeless worm."

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London, described a new species of orchid found in the forests of Madagascar as "the ugliest orchid in the world."

Gastrodia agnicellus was one of 156 species of plants and fungus named by Kew scientists and their partners around the world this year. The leafless orchid grows underground in decaying leaf litter for most of its life.

Fortunately, it doesn't seem like many people will be picking them for bouquets.

"The 11 mm flowers of this orchid are small, brown and rather ugly," Kew researchers said. The orchid, which has no leaves or photosynthetic tissue, relies on fungus for sustenance.

Other discoveries included six new species of webcap toadstool mushrooms in the United Kingdom and a strange shrub uncovered in 2010 in southern Nambia.

After he was unable to place the shrub in any genus, botanist Wessel Swanepoel contacted Kew scientist Felix Forest and his team. It was then revealed that the orchid was not only a new species but a new genus and family: Tiganophyton karansense.

The shrub, which lives in Nambian salt pans, is described as both "scary" and "heat-resistant."

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