Acianthera cogniauxiana

Ruth is responsible for today’s write-up:

Thank you to codiferous@Flickr (original via BPotD Flickr Pool) for today’s incredible picture. This miniature orchid was found on a fallen tree branch over a quebrada (a geographical feature similar to a salt flat) (note: see comments below re: quebrada being a ravine with a stream at the bottom) in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica.

This species of Acianthera was originally described by Rudolf Schlechter in 1907 as Pleurothallis congiauxiana. In 1978, Luer and Selbyana called the same species Pleurothallis congruens. This was followed in 2001 by Pridgeon, M.W. Chase and Lindleyana publishing its currently accepted name, Acianthera cogniauxiana. The species name cogniauxiana is in honour of the Belgian scientist Alfred Cogniaux. I would have incorrectly guessed that the species prefix “cognia” would have had something to do with the mind or cognition due to its mind-boggling size (up to 6 cm (or 2 inches)) and cuteness (infinite).

When searching for information on this species, use the previously accepted genus name of Pleurothallis for best results. The pleurothallid orchids are either terrestrial or epiphytic dwarfs (note: see comments below).

For additional reading on some recently described species of Acianthera, see Three New Species Of Acianthera (Orchidaceae: Pleurothallidinae) From Costa Rica by researchers from Jardín Botánico Lankester, Harvard University Herbaria, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and Escuela de Biología (Universidad de Costa Rica).

Acianthera cogniauxiana

8 responses to “Acianthera cogniauxiana”

  1. Guy Webb

    Great find!
    I want thousands of them!

  2. Carole Miller

    What a lovely little treasure.

  3. Connie

    I am so interested in these teensy tinsey flowers that I did look for more. I found this:
    And I wondered what the hangey down things on the petals are and what they are for. A snack for pollenators?
    Thanks for always showing me something beautiful and for explaining it as well.

  4. Carlo Balistrieri

    While many pleurothallids are small, it is incorrect to imply that they are all dwarf. Some will grow quite large.
    They are FASCINATING as are their relatives…and many are grown in home and institutional collections.
    The Pleurothallid Alliance is an organization dedicated to the sub-tribe.

  5. annie morgan

    What dear little fellows. Great photo with the hand there to show the relative tininess.
    And Connie, your link is fantastic! Thanks for posting it.

  6. Derek Roff

    A beautiful picture and an amazing plant. Thanks for posting it.
    I’m surprised by the translation of the word “quebrada” as “salt flat” in the description. I’m quite familiar with the word, but I’ve never seen this usage/definition before. Is it specific to Costa Rica?

  7. Katie McIntosh

    For some wonderful images of ‘Hardy British Orchids’ and other aspects of the natural world, check out the photography of Robert Thompson.

  8. Cody

    Derek, you’re right. In Costa Rica the word quebrada is most often used to refer to a stream or creek or ravine with a stream at the bottom. I’ve never heard it used to refer to a salt flat, and there are certainly no salt flats in the Monteverde cloud forest where I took this photo!

    Ruth, thanks for the otherwise very interesting and useful description, and for selecting my photo. It made my day to see it here!

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