Occupy the Night! The first and only night blooming orchid has been discovered on a volcanic island off Papua, New Guinea. Of >25,000 species of orchids, only a handful bloom in the evening, and until now, none were known to flower exclusively at night. Botanists are very excited.
When Dutch botanist Ed de Vogel cultivated Bulbophyllum nocturnum , he was disappointed at first to never catch the blooms. But he took a plant home with him one evening. A bud began to open 2 hours before midnight, revealing an exotic purple orchid that withered by morning.
Botanists from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew (UK) and the Center for Biodiversity Naturalis in the Netherlands who made this discovery, hailed this as “another reminder that surprising discoveries can still be made”.
Orchids are pollinated by insects that are active during the day so it makes sense that the flowers bloom by day. This rare purple orchid may be pollinated by midge flies that forage at night. Why is it that only this orchid chose a nocturnal habit?
Perhaps, nature simply found an unoccupied niche and occupied it.