Gastrodia agnicellus – “The ugliest orchid in the world”

The Royal Botanic Gardens or Kew Gardens of London recently released the highlights of newly named plant species by them in the year 2020. The Kew scientists named a total of 156 plants and fungal species in 2020. Out of the total 156 species, the scientists have named Gastrodia agnicellus as the “ugliest orchid in the world”.

Key Points

  • Gastrodia agnicellus was listed on the top 10 discoveries of the year list by the Kew scientists.
  • Gastrodia agnicellus is an orchid found in Madagascar. It has no leaves or any photosynthetic tissue.
  • They are small orchid flowers of 11 mm and are brown in color.
  • As they have no leaves, they get nutrition from fungi.
  • The flowers produce dust-like seeds for reproduction.
  • It is at present a threatened species.

Other Species

The list of 156 newly found species includes a toadstool which was found next to Heathrow Airport in London, a strange Namibian shrub, a jazzy hot pink hibiscus found in Australia, etc.

Tiganophyton karasense

The Namibian shrub could not be placed in any genus. So it led to a new genus and a new family, called Tiganophyton karasense.

The name Tiganophyton has been derived from the Greek ‘Tigani’, or ‘frying pan’, and ‘Phyton’, or ‘plant’.

This name has been provided because the shrub grows in extremely hot natural salt pans. The shrub has scaly leaves.