Ecuador: World's smallest orchid discovered


The world's smallest orchid has been discovered in Ecuador and, remarkably, the petals are so thin they're just one cell thick.

Orchids represent one of the most diverse of the flowering plant families and are coveted almost religiously for their beautiful flowers and enigmatic lifestyles. This latest botanic treasure was found by American orchid specialist Lou Jost in the Cerro Candelaria Reserve, created in partnership by Ecuador's EcoMinga Foundation and the World Land Trust in the UK.

The news, reported in the Independent, is just one of an amazing series of discoveries that Jost has made in the last decade, which also lists an amazing 60 orchids and 10 other plant species new to science.

The miniscule 2.1 mm wide plant, part of the Teagueia genus, easily beats the current record-holder Platystele jungermannioides to first place in the micro league. Ecuador is a known hotspot of orchid discovery and it is reported that more 1,000 species have been found there in the past century.