August 15, 2002


Peruvian orchid sparks an uproar : Botanists are calling it a spectacular find: It's the Phragmipedium kovachii, a new orchid discovered in the Peruvian Andes in May. (ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/14/02)
"IT'S A RICH, brilliant red purple. Big, round, well-shaped - it apparently has no odor - and one flower per stem seems to be the rule," said John Beckner, curator of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Orchid Identification Center in Sarasota, Fla.

"This is a sensational-looking flower, in other words," Beckner said.

Michael Kovach, a nursery owner in Virginia's Fauquier County, came upon the orchid on a mountainside where an Indian family was selling flowers. On June 5, he walked into the Orchid Identification Center with a dried and pressed specimen. [...]

Researchers at the center immediately set about drawing, describing and naming the flower, with help from Ricardo Fernandez of the Museo de Historia Natural in Lima, Peru. The findings were published in the center's scientific journal, Selbyana, on June 12. It was on the center's Web site June 18.

The next morning, Selby's spokeswoman Ilene Denton said she was amazed to find at least a dozen email messages from orchid lovers as far away as the Netherlands, Japan and New Zealand.

"It's been quite a stir," she said.

"It has huge commercial potential. It already has the orchid world in an uproar," Beckner said.

Not all of it is good.

The orchid people make the Scrabble players seem stable. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 15, 2002 8:19 PM
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