Brachycorythis lastii

A thank you to zimbart@Flickr, aka Bart Wursten, for contributing today’s photograph via the UBC Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool.

Brachycorythis lastii is a diminutive orchid species native to Brachystegia woodlands and riparian forest areas of tropical Africa. For a better sense of scale, visit the Flora of Zimbabwe page for Brachycorythis lastii and view more of Bart’s photographs–the one with the person in it demonstrates that these plants only reach a few centimetres in height. Despite the small size of the plants, the flowers apparently have a potent lemon scent.

Lacking chlorophyll, it is almost a certainty that this orchid species maintains a persistent mycorrhizal relationship throughout its development and growth. However, I don’t think the fungal partner(s) have yet been determined, as there seems to be little literature on the subject (available online).

Illustrations of Brachycorythis lastii can be seen on the Swiss Orchid Foundation web site.

Brachycorythis lastii

6 responses to “Brachycorythis lastii”

  1. Chris Rensfield

    Wow…just beautiful. I didn’t know that there are orchids that have scents. That is a nice piece of information for the day…thanks.

  2. Peony Fan

    Spectacular! Wonderful photo and fascinating subject. The colors are so bright that one would think the pollinators would have no trouble finding the flowers. The lemon scent would be a case of “gilding the lily”.

  3. Toinette Lippe

    I grow orchids in my apartment in New York City, more than one with amazing scent. I learned that the Japanese grow orchids for their scent rather than their beauty and make perfume from orchids but don’t export the perfume because it is so subtle they think that Westerners wouldn’t appreciate it.

  4. Earl Blackstock

    My first thought on seeing this beautiful photo: “Treasures in the Leaf Litter”

  5. elizabeth a airhart

    how lovely to be out walking lifes pathways
    with the lovely tiny enticeing fairys of our world
    thank you all

  6. Bart Wursten

    There are in fact many orchid species that are scented. Particularly Angrecoid species, which are mostly white, emit a beautiful scent at night to attract their pollinators, usually moths.
    Another good example are the bizarre Stanhopeas, well known by orchid growers. They have an often overpowering smell varying from caramel to chocolate.
    Then there are the many species of Bulbophyllum that attract their pollinators, blow-flies, by emitting the foulest stench of rotting flesh. Not good subjects for an orchid house I can tell you
    Bart Wursten

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