April 3, 2013

Porroglossum tripollex

Porroglossum tripollex belongs to a genus of plants closely related to Masdevallia, but all having a moveable, insect-trapping lip.  They are usually small plants with rather long flower spikes that hold the small flowers well away from the plant.  When the lip is disturbed it eventually snaps up against the column of the flower trapping some tiny insect against the column and effecting pollination.  This species is from Ecuador, is 3 cm tall and has 1.5 cm flowers on 6-8 cm flower spikes.  The first three of the following photos show the flower with the lip "unsprung."  The last two photos shows the flower with the lip "sprung."

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