Orchid ID: It shoots an arrow

Discussion in 'Orchidaceae (orchids)' started by Mike, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. In Brazil, my mom used to own an orchid that would shoot a dart containing a seed out of the flower when it was stimulated. It wasn't a very pretty flower (green with brown splotches?), but as a kid I thought it was great that it could shoot a sticky dart out.

    Any ideas about what kind? If it helps, we were in central Brazil, in Cuiaba.
    Does anyone sell this kind?
  2. GreenLeaf

    GreenLeaf Active Member 10 Years

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    By "seed" do you mean the pollen (pollinia)? Sometimes orchid flowers eject their pollinia at pollinators (insects) when the flower is disturbed. A pollinia looks like an orange little bead attached to a sticky anchor that the orchid uses to attach it to pollinators. I guess that's what you mean. Seeds come after the flower has finished blooming and has grown a pod...and each orchid has thousands of seeds in one pod. Just for clarification. :)

    It's really hard giving an orchid ID w/o pics...hard even with a pic. But I guess it is a catasetum (which are famous for shooting things out of their flowers). They do come from Brazil and other parts of South America.

    Perhaps someone else knows the species?
  3. If the "dart" is for pollination, it's a very inefficient way of doing it. From what I remember, each flower would only shoot one dart, which had a sticky pad and a short shaft behind it which had little fletches, like an arrow. Total length of the dart was a little less than 1 cm.

    Sorry, but I don't have any pictures; only 20 year old memories. I was hoping someone would recognize my description because of how unusual it it.


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