Researchers in Japan recently discovered a new species of orchid with delicate, pink-and-white blooms that look like they were spun from glass. This species is a neighbor to a related orchid species common in Japan, and is a reminder that unknown species often live right under our noses.
The newly described flower is part of the Spiranthes genus and is called “ladies’ tresses” for its resemblance to wavy locks of hair. It was found in Tokyo prefecture near Hachijo Island, inspiring the species name Spiranthes hachijoensis. Its discovery is an important reminder that unknown species can be found in parks, gardens, and even on balconies. The flower has smaller petals with wider bases and straighter central petals than other Spiranthes species and lacks a structure for self-pollination.
This discovery of a new species highlights the need for taxonomic and genetic research to accurately assess species diversity and the need for protection of orchids due to habitat loss and popularity.