Underground Orchid

Week 11
Year 2016
An underground orchid poking out of the soil.
Image Credit: "Underground Orchid" by Jean and Fred Hort - Flickr © CC BY-SA 2.0

A plant underground isn’t odd. A plant that flowers underground, and lives its whole life underground, now that’s odd. The Underground Orchid (Rhizanthella gardneri) lives its whole life under Australian soil. Wait… no sunlight? So How does this fascinating plant get its nutrients? By being a parasite of a parasite. This extremely rare plant gets its nutrients from a fungi that gets its nutrients from the roots of Broom Bush.[1] Not being dependent on photosynthesis, has allowed scientist an interesting insight into this Orchid’s chloroplast genome. Curiously, 70% of the genes are not present in the genome; making this the lowest known amount on record![2]

Do you know any fun facts or tips?


[1]: Rogers, R. "Rhizanthella Gardneri — Underground Orchid, Western Australian Underground Orchid." Australian Government - Department of the Environment. Accessed March 21, 2016. http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=20109.

[2]: "Western Australia's Incredible Underground Orchid." ScienceDaily. February 9, 2011. Accessed March 21, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110208101337.htm.