Stunning new orchid species grows in lawns and parks in Japan

Spiranthes hachijoensis was hiding in plain sight

Masayuki Ishibashi

A new orchid species – a delicate cousin of a known orchid – has been identified in Japan.

Japan’s flora has been exhaustively studied, and so botanists were under the impression that the mainland is home to just one species from the Spiranthes genus of orchids: Spiranthes australis. But in May 2015, Kenji Suetsugu at Kobe University in Japan stumbled upon an unusual type of orchid while on a field trip exploring the grasslands of the Chiba prefecture.

Suetsugu spotted a cluster of rosy petals …

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