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Darwin's Orchid

Other names: Madagarscar's Star Ochid, Comet Orchid, Star of Bethlehem.
Angraecum sesquipedale

This orchid has an incredible foot-long nectar spur that holds its nectar at the very tip. When Darwin first saw this orchid in Madagascar in 1862, he predictated its pollinator to have a long tongue (proboscis) that could reach down the long throat of the orchid for the nectar. No such insect was known at that time, and Darwin was ridiculed. 60 years later (40 years after Darwin's passed away), the giant hawk moth (Xanthopa morgali praedicta) with a 10-inch tongue was found that matched Darwin's prediction. This is a good example of the coevolution of plants and their pollinators.


Frontal view of Angraecum sesquipedale


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