Smallest orchid in the world found by accident (well it is only 2mm wide)
Botanists who have just discovered a new flower in Ecuador can be forgiven for having missed it until now.
The world’s smallest orchid is just 2.1mm wide, with transparent petals that are just one cell thick. It comes from the Platystele genus, which is made up of mostly miniature plants.
American scientist Lou Jost found the tiny flower by accident among the roots of a larger plant that he had collected from the Cerro Candelaria reserve in the eastern Andes.
He said: ‘I saw that down among the roots was a tiny little plant that I realised was more interesting than the bigger orchid.
‘Looking at the flower is often the best way to be able to identify which species of orchid you’re got hold of – and can tell you whether you’re looking at an unknown species or not.’