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Friday, September 26, 2014

Deconstructing ruckeri

Side view of Stanhopea ruckeri 'Tikal' ABG# 1997-0230
A Stanhopea flower is an exquisite thing, but trying to observe one from every angle while it's still on the inflorescence is a frustrating experience because of the compact arrangement of flowers. It's especially hard to get a direct look at the upper surface of the lip because the column blocks its view. The best way to look at Stanhopea flower is to remove it and take it apart.

Dorsal view of Stanhopea ruckeri 'Tikal' ABG# 1997-0230
Dorsal view of the column and lip without the two lateral petals and three sepals
Dorsal view of the lip without the column
Ventral view of the lip
Ventral view of the column
Dissecting these flowers increases my admiration for them. And the powerful fragrance that is released inside our small closed library is wonderful. Some of them (like Stanhopea embreei, 99% trans-methylcinnamate) I want to inhale over and over again. How exactly do the Euglossine bees experience this fragrance, I wonder?


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