Last week I featured the tallest orchid in the world, so this week I’m going to talk about the smallest orchid in the world: Platystele jungermannioides. This little guy was discovered accidentally by American botanist Lou Jost as he was inspecting a completely separate plant from Ecuador. He found it growing among the roots of the other plant! According to an article in The Independent, this orchid is 2.1 mm wide; here’s a photo with a ruler for reference:
A dime is about 1 mm thick and a nickel is about twice as thick as a dime; large grains of sand can be about 2 mm in size, so this gives you a concrete sense of just how miniscule the orchid really is. Here is the Platystele jungermannioides in bloom next to a toothpick…a freaking toothpick!!
…and here it is, in bloom, next to a human finger:
In addition to Ecuador, the orchid is found in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama.
And now, on to the scientific classification:
Family: Orchidaceae (Duh…maybe I should start omitting the family from this section.)
Ahhh….the wonders of nature. Incroyable!!