Darwin's Star OrchidTraditional Garden
The Madagascar Star Orchid, or Darwin's Orchid
This beautiful Orchid from Madagascar puzzled naturalists for years. The flower has a long spur in which nectar is produced to attract and reward pollinators. The naturalists wondered what sort of animal could have mouth parts long enough to reach the nectar. Charles Darwin studied orchids and their pollinators and deduced that there must be an insect with mouth parts that long or the orchid would have never evolved with such a long spur. However, no such insect was known to exist. Nearly 40 years later, a large moth with mouth parts just the right length was discovered. The month was named Xanthopan marganii praedicta in honor of Darwin's accurate prediction.
Photo by NYBG Staff