Blame Climate Change? New orchid looks like the devil

For some reason, this press release showed up in my Eurekalert news feed for Atmospheric Science. That makes me wonder how long it will take for somebody to blame this new mutant flower on climate change. After all, there are thousands of other things that climate change gets blamed for.

Orchid or demon: Flower of a new species of orchid looks like a devil’s head

This is a close-up of the new orchid species Telipogon diabolicus showing its flower resembling a devil's head. CREDIT Marta Kolanowska

This is a close-up of the new orchid species Telipogon diabolicus showing its flower resembling a devil’s head. CREDIT Marta Kolanowska

A lone and unique population of about 30 reddish to dark violet-maroon orchids grows on the small patch of land between the borders of two Colombian departments. However, its extremely small habitat is far from the only striking thing about the new species.

A closer look at its flowers’ heart reveals what appears to be a devil’s head. Named after its demonic patterns, the new orchid species, Telipogon diabolicus, is described in the open access journal PhytoKeys.

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

With its only known habitat restricted to a single population spread across a dwarf montane forest at the border between departments Putumayo and Nariño, southern Colombia, the devilish orchid is assigned as a Critically Endangered species in the IUCN Red List.

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,” remind the authors. “However, there is no doubt that hundreds of species occurring in this country remain undiscovered. Only in 2015 over 20 novelties were published based on material collected in Colombia.”


The paper:

Kolanowska M, Szlachetko DL, Trejo RM (2016) Telipogon diabolicus (Orchidaceae, Oncidiinae), a new species from southern Colombia. PhytoKeys 65: 113-124. doi:10.3897/phytokeys.65.8674

48 thoughts on “Blame Climate Change? New orchid looks like the devil

  1. new they need to find to insect that this flower is imitating. If they can’t find it, it’s probably because it has already been made extinct by man made climate change.

  2. I’m sure that the BBC will blame it on the United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union – the new cause of everything bad.
    “Since Brexit the Devil stalks the earth”.

    • We do not know what the Devil looks like. If these people read the entire Bible (which I am sure they have not), they will see that not once is there a description of how Satan looks. Whenever angels are described (of which all the demons used to be angels), they are always described as grown men, sometimes with wings and sometimes without. Oddly enough, all angels sold in the stores today are either of women or children even though angels were always male. The idea of a red devil with horns and a pitchfork is based on the idea that the devil is the ruler of a fiery hell. This is just the Christianized form of the Greek god Pan.
      It is very interesting how religions mix. At least I find it fascinating because I like history. (By the way, the English word fascinate has its origins in the Roman gods. Look up the etymology.) There are many common threads in most religions. Many have triple gods, most believe in an immortal soul, most have idols, and so on. I have done some study into the history of religions because I find it interesting. Christianity, for instance, has changed a lot since Christ first started it. Even if you do not believe in a creator, religious history is still interesting because it is an important part of human history.

    • The “devil” comes from the mind of man. The orchid is just a pretty little flower. Rorschach test!

  3. A manufacture Gargoyle.
    Plenty of those in parliament (or for the US guys, Congress or whatever.)

  4. “the devilish orchid is assigned as a Critically Endangered species in the IUCN Red List.”
    That is right, that is how it ends. You might not want to be on that list with old scratch.

  5. Rotate the photo. Place the single point up.
    Now it looks like a bishop. Best to not say more.

  6. I thought global warming was killing 1000’s of species? But this article says there are hundred of species not yet discovered. WUWT?

  7. Looks like Yosemite Sam just arrived in Hell and is scaring the bejeekers out of poor Satan

  8. I dunno…the one to the right of center, seen from the side, looks like a duck.
    Hey, this is fun! If you use your imagination, you can see anything!

  9. To me it looks like a bee. Which raises the question why an orchid would want to look like a creature it’s trying to attract.

    A teachable moment for warmists?
    There’s this thing that happens in a normal world of changing climates. It’s called natural selection.

    • If the selection is due to human interference, such as by gross modification of the the organism’s environment, I wouldn’t call it “natural”.

      • We have altered much in the landscape over the millennia, but not by our CO2. As for our interactions with the natural world, they aren’t always degradations. We selected wheat and sugar cane from grasses, domestic cattle from buffalo, dogs from wolves… Not to say we shouldn’t be conscientious about other species, but humans have had to adapt along with everything else that survives. Devilish images aside, Earth is no Eden. Judging by those delicate plants pictured above, which are doing what they’ve always done by surviving enough generations to make their own adaptations, we don’t seem to be doing too badly.

  10. If we just discovered it clearly the flower is just emerging biodiversity or vice versa, which means it lost the evolutionary lottery a long time ago. I don’t get it. It seems to me that our modern environmentalists would just as soon had the biosphere stop evolving altogether at the end of the Jurassic and simply gone into a never ending holding pattern “cycle of life”. I mean aren’t all species “threatened”? Isn’t that what drives Darwinian evolution?

  11. They found a blonde Grizzly and called it a hybrid 😀 due to climate change. The Guardian still have their Hybrid article up, even knowing the truth

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