Telipogon diabolicus: The new orchid species that resembles a devil`s head - See pic!

A closer look at the flowers' heart (gynostemium) resembles a devil's head.

Updated: Jul 13, 2016, 11:48 AM IST
Telipogon diabolicus: The new orchid species that resembles a devil`s head - See pic!
Image credit: Marta Kolanowska

London: A unique, yet distinctive new species of orchid has been discovered in southern Colombia, on the border between departments Putumayo and Nariño.


While the colorful and often fragrant flowers of orchids are highly valued for their beauty, the newly discovered species is not that pretty. A closer look at its flowers' heart (gynostemium) resembles a devil's head.

Named after its demonic patterns, the new orchid species, Telipogon diabolicus, was described in the journal PhytoKeys.

Discovered by Marta Kolanowska and Dariusz Szlachetko, both affiliated with the University of Gdansk, Poland, together with Ramiro Medina Trejo of Colombia, the new orchid grows a stem measuring between 5.5-9 cm in height.


Although the curious orchid could be mistakenly taken for a few other species, there are still some easy to see physical traits that make the flower stand out.

Apart from the demon's head hidden at the heart of its colours, the petals themselves are characteristically clawed. This feature has not been found in any other Colombian species of the genus.

"In the most recent catalogue of Colombian plants almost 3600 orchid species representing nearly 250 genera are included," the authors said.

"However, there is no doubt that hundreds of species occurring in this country remain undiscovered," they pointed out.

The new orchid species was found growing epiphytically in wet, dwarf montane forest at the edge of páramo. The population which was observed during the field study consists of about 30 specimens of which only several were adult, flowering plants.

With its only known habitat restricted to a single population spread across a dwarf montane forest in southern Colombia, the devilish orchid is assigned as a Critically Endangered species in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation) Red List.