A new species of orchid with delicate glass-like flowers has been discovered by Japanese scientists, who have found the pink and white plant hidden in plain sight.
Despite its presence in parks and gardens across Japan, it took researchers at Kobe University a decade to confirm that the plant – dubbed the Spiranthes hachijoensis – was a previously unknown species.
“It was a surprise to discover a new species of Spirantheswhich is so common that it can be seen in parks, gardens and among potted plants,” lead researcher Kenji Suetsugu told AFP on Thursday.
Some of the samples came from “potted plants and gardens”, including those kept at a high school in Japan’s central Gifu region, the plant science professor said.
“With its curious appearance and delicate, glass-like flowers, this flower has long been loved by people,” the university said in a press release.
The plant, with its spiral flowers, was even mentioned in Japan’s oldest anthology of poems, the eighth century Manyoshu.
The discovery of the new type of Spiranthessometimes called “ladies’ braids”, was announced last week in the Plant Research Journal.
It was given the name “hachijoensis” because many samples were found on Hachijojima Island in Tokyo.