The astonishing exploding black orchid

See the tiny particles that ruin the black perfection of these Catasetum Orchids?

At first I thought they were dust, and tried to clean them up in post. Then it dawned.

They’re not an imperfection, but a feature of this bizarre-but-beautiful, black-chocolate blossom with its black-cherry column.

I believe this to be a hybrid called Fred Clarkeara SVO After Dark SVO Black Pearl, but it could very well be a different one bred especially for Longwood Gardens. This part isn’t important.

The really cool thing about this black orchid —apart from the color and its characteristically sexy fragrance…

The cool thing is how it explodes

In previous posts, I’ve shown orchids that seduce a Queen Bee into attempting sex with it. This Black Orchid goes a step further. After attracting the pollinating insect with its fragrance, the orchid waits for its “partner” actually to touch it.

This then trips a biological trigger that causes the column —the black cherry thing in the center of the blossom—to release a shockingly violent shower of sticky pollen onto the Queen Bee…

Or, heaven forbid, onto you…

Or, if you happen to be a very unlucky photographer, onto your lens coating…

Or, if you happen to be changing lenses in precisely the wrong place at the worst possible time, it just might coat your mirrorless camera’s sensor with sticky pollen granules. In this case, I suggest you contact the manufacturer and have your instrument professionally cleaned.

Of course this isn’t likely to happen. But Black Orchids are infamous for their supposedly supernatural powers. So you might want to attach your macro lens to the camera in a clean room, far from any FredClarkeara SVO After Dark Black Pearl Orchid.

Maybe even in a different country.


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