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Angraecum sesquipedale

Object Details

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Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection
Accession Number
2011-1994A
Description
Some orchids contain mysteries. Angraecum sesquipedale is an orchid with an unusual adaptation – a long hollow spur which holds nectar that only a moth with a very long, straw-like tongue, or proboscis, can gather. In 1862, when none other than Charles Darwin first examined this orchid, no such moth was known to exist. Darwin predicted that if an orchid with a 12-inch-long nectar spur existed, then there must be a moth with a 12 inch tongue. Darwin was laughed at until 1903, when such a moth was discovered. The orchid became known as Darwin’s Orchid.
Bloom Time (Northern Hemisphere)
November to May
Pollination Syndrome
Moth (hawkmoth, Xanthopan morganii var. praedicta)
Provenance
From a cultivated plant not of known wild origin
Topic
Orchids
Living Collections
Range
E to SE Madagascar
Habitat
Near the edge of coastal woods with heavy rainfall and no dry season; 0-330ft (0-100m)
Life Form
Lithophytic
Bloom Characteristics
Erect to arching inflorescence is 15-18" (38-46 cm) long with 1-4 (and rarely 6) white, waxy, star-shaped flowers. Flowers are 6-8" (15-20 cm) across, long-lasting, and can be as long as 18" (46 cm) to the base of its nectar spur. It is the largest angraecoid orchid. The flowers are greenish when they first open, but turn white after 2-3 days.
Fragrance
Jasmine scented at night
Plant Size
18-36" x 24-40" (46-91 x 61-102 cm), excluding inflorescence
Data Source
Smithsonian Gardens
Common Name
Christmas Orchid
Comet Orchid
Darwin's Orchid
The One and a Half Foot Long Angraecum
Group
[vascular plants]
Class
Equisetopsida
Subclass
Magnoliidae
Superorder
Lilianae
Order
Asparagales
Family
Orchidaceae
Subfamily
Epidendroideae
Genus
Angraecum
Species
sesquipedale
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ax735ba186b-a0e8-4d04-9b7a-e8fbaadbd670
Record ID
ofeo-sg_2011-1994A
Photographed by: Creekside Digital
Photographed by: Creekside Digital
Photographed by: Creekside Digital
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