Most orchids have appropriate names, for example in the epiphytic genera Dendrobium and Epidendrum – both names come from the ancient Greek word dendron and mean ‘growing on trees’. But some orchids bear a name that seems very wrong, even insulting. In past centuries, epiphytic orchids were often called ‘parasites’. Are they? No! But are there parasitic orchids? Yes!
When I acquired Lankesterella ceracifolia for my collection, all my orchid friends laughed. They thought that I had been scammed and someone had sold me a butterwort instead. But when it finally flowered, after a year, it really turned out to be an orchid, with alien-like blooms. What a gem!
The book ‘Demystifying Orchid Pollination’ by Adam Karremans was published in Spring 2023 by Kew Gardens. Well-written and well-illustrated, the book is a treasure trove of how orchids and their pollinators interact. The book is based on scientific findings of the last two centuries, but written for a broad public. Unique feature of the book: QR Codes that give access to videos of orchids being pollinated.