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Surprising in Japan, discovered a flower that looks like glass

A new species of orchid has been discovered in Japan. It is beautiful and its flowers, so fragile and delicate, seem to have petals almost made of glass. 

The new orchid, called Spiranthes Hachijoensis, has truly extraordinary characteristics. Its flowers, fragile and delicate, range in colour from off-white to pink and, above all, when seen close up, they really do look as if they are almost made of glass.

Spiranthes are also called 'women's tresses' due to their resemblance to locks of hair and have a central stem around which an ascending spiral of tiny bell-shaped flowers grows.

fonte Springer Nature Switzerland
A new orchid
Japan is a nation where flora has been extensively studied and documented. However, Professor Suetsugu Kenji and his collaborators have recently discovered a surprising new species of orchid whose pink petals bear an incredible resemblance to worked glass. Since it was first found near the island of Hachijo in Tokyo Prefecture, the new species was given the name Spiranthes hachijoensis.
fonte Springer Nature Switzerland
Habitat and distribution
Interestingly, Spiranthes hachijoensis can be found in environments such as lawns and parks, and even in private gardens and on balconies. This research suggests that other new species may be hiding in common places, eliminating the need to venture into remote tropical rainforests to discover them.
fonte Springer Nature Switzerland
Characteristics and history
The genus Spiranthes comprises a fascinating and splendid variety of orchids, which display a number of distinctive morphological traits. The flowers are typically small and white or pinkish in colour, arranged in a spiral around a central stem, hence the nickname 'ladies' lacewings'. Spiranthes is the best known orchid in Japan and has been appreciated for centuries, even appearing in Manyoshu, the oldest extant anthology of poetry in Japan.
fonte Springer Nature Switzerland
The mystery of Japanese Spiranthes 
For a long time it was believed that the Spiranthes found on the Japanese mainland consisted of a single species: Spiranthes australis. However, while conducting extensive field surveys focusing on specimens from Japanese Spiranthes, Suetsugu came across several populations of an unknown taxon of Spiranthes with hairless floral stems on the mainland of Japan.
fonte Springer Nature Switzerland
An in-depth study
Consequently, Suetsugu and his colleagues undertook a comprehensive and multifaceted ten-year study to determine the precise differences between these plants. Specimens were collected from various locations in Japan, Taiwan and Laos. By integrating the results of DNA analysis, morphology, field observations and reproductive biology, Suetsugu and his collaborators discovered that this is a cryptic species with a high level of molecular divergence, albeit with minimal morphological differentiation. The discovery of new species hidden in common places underlines the need for persistent exploration, even in seemingly insignificant environments.
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