Orchids, why are they beautiful?

This video says about itself:

Orchid close-up. Habenaria radiata

29 September 2016

Pecteilis radiata (formerly known as Habenaria radiata) is a terrestrial orchid species, found in China, Japan and Korea. It grows in humid locations, often in full sun and can be cultivated as a bog plant.

I grew it in full south-western sun, next to my carnivorous plants. I watered it every day (or even twice a day on very hot days) with copious amounts of tap water or rain water whichever I had at the time, but I would NEVER let it sit in water (unlike my carnivorous plants) or let it dry out.

When it was in active growth, I fertilised it with a very dilute fertiliser (weaker than I use for Masdevallias) every fortnight.

When it started growing a flower spike, I stopped the fertilisation. The bloom only lasted for a week, and the second one never opened. The plant itself did not grow to its potential height, because it can grow up to 30 cm. I’ve got it potted up in a mix that looks like peat and perlite and I didn’t repot it. Now the plant is still outside and is preparing for the winter, so I water it less.

Thank you for reading this long description, and please remember that I am by no means an expert and I don’t think that I am very successful at growing this plant yet, so please use this information carefully.

From Tohoku University in Japan:

Mechanism behind orchid beauty revealed

August 20, 2018

Researchers at Tohoku University in Japan have identified the gene related to the greenish flower mutation in the Habenaria [radiata] orchid.

Associate Professor Akira Kanno and PhD candidate Mai Mitoma have discovered that the greenish flower mutation is caused by a retrotransposon insertion in one of the floral homeotic genes in the Habenaria orchid. The modification of this gene by a genetic transformation system enables the development of greenish flowers in orchids and other plant species.

Orchids are important ornamental plants with high commercial value. The orchid lip, which acts as a landing platform for pollinators (insects) can vary in shape, form and color. At the center of the flower, an orchid has a unique reproductive organ called a column. Botanists have been interested in the shape of the orchid flower for a long time, however, until now the molecular mechanism of the orchid flower development has been largely unclear. Being able to modify orchid floral structures through genetic engineering would be very valuable for orchid breeders allowing for an increase in orchid production.

Kanno explained the process, which was undertaken to reveal the mechanism: “first, we used a mutant orchid cultivar with greenish flowers to analyze the important genes related to flower development in orchids. Then we found the retrotransposon insertion in one of the floral homeotic genes called the SEPALLATA-like gene in the mutant orchid cultivar.”

This mutant cultivar has greenish flowers. The loss-of-function of the SEPALLATA-like gene transformed the white petals to greenish organs and the column was converted into greenish leaf-like organs; revealing that the SEPALLATA-like gene is essential for petal, lip and column development in orchids.

In the future, the team aims to modify the SEPALLATA-like gene in other orchid species. It is thought that the reduced expression of the SEPALLATA-like gene may produce greenish flowers. These transgenic plants may help us to better understand the molecular mechanism of floral development in orchids.

4 thoughts on “Orchids, why are they beautiful?

  1. Pingback: Ant pollinates orchid, video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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  3. Pingback: 23 new plant species discovered in China | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Orchids in Keukenhof flower park, video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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