Japan’s most familiar orchid is found to have near-identical cousin

All the Spiranthes on the Japanese mainland were thought to be a single species, but in fact there are two

In Japan, a country with a rich and ancient history of horticulture, it is nowadays extremely rare for a new plant species to be identified. But the latest one has been growing under their noses, and it is exceptionally beautiful.

Spiranthes hachijoensis, whose rosy pink petals bear a striking resemblance to glasswork, can be found in common environments such as lawns and parks, and even in private gardens and on balconies, and yet until now it had not been named. That is because until now it was believed that all the Spiranthes on the Japanese mainland were a single species, when in fact there are two.

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