April 7, 2012

Angraecum urschianum

Angraecum urschianum is a micro-miniature species in a genus that includes some massive plants and flowers.  It is also in the same genus as the plant whose flowers when seen by Darwin were the basis for his prediction, later proved true, that a moth would be found with a twelve inch tongue (the flowers have nectaries that are a foot long).  This plant is a bit less than 3 cm across and the flowers are 2.5 cm with a 10 cm spur or nectary.  It is hard to realize from the photos how tiny this plant is, but an American quarter would easily cover the whole plant.  I have not detected any fragrance but have not checked the plant at night and suspect that it is fragrant then.  The plant is from Madagascar.

First a couple of pictures of the flower bud with the spur still coiled:

Then some of the opened flower with the spur uncoiled:

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