The bizarre naked man orchid

November 6, 2015 • 3:15 pm

Let’s finish the week not with a cat, but a plant. This one, the “naked orchid” or “hanging naked man orchid,” is a real species, Orchis italica.


There’s a reason they aren’t called the “naked hanging woman orchid”:


Don’t ask me the adaptive significance, if any, of this shape. Maybe there’s some insect that has a search image for men?

To see nine more bizarre flowers, many of them orchids, go here.

25 thoughts on “The bizarre naked man orchid

              1. On this week’s Real Time Bill Maher somehow let the Republican guest say that Americans were more depressed because they are losing their religion. I’m still angry about it, mostly because this is such an easy assertion to knock down. Basically, one word: Scandinavia.

                Sadly David Frum, who I like because I think he’s smart and a reasonable Republican, supported her, though he did say it was about “community” not religion. Either way, atheism looked like it was making everyone commit suicide.

  1. I recall reading somewhere that the genus Orchis have evolved a food deceptive strategy for pollination, and are generalists re the insect species they deceive. The shape is probably just coincidence. It would be interesting to see how these flowers are marked in near UV light.

    1. It could be that to a certain species of insect, which can see in colors that we cannot, the flower presents some visual cues of a potential mate. The well hung human mate being entirely a coincidence.

    2. And of course many of us know that the etymology goes, “Latin orchis, a kind of orchid, from Greek orkhis (genitive orkheos) “orchid,” literally “testicle…”

      Perhaps this orchid is gay.

      1. Perhaps?

        Come on, dressed in those colours, arm in arm and wearing fabulous hats, what else could they be?

  2. The first photo actually shows Orchis simia, the Monkey Orchid.

    We can be fairly certain that it is not pollinated by monkeys, because monkeys and Monkey Orchids are not sympatric. (There may be other arguments too.)

  3. Reblogged this on In the Dark and commented:
    Tired after a long afternoon on Senate, I lack the energy to do a proper blog post so I thought I’d just reblog this. I suppose it follows on from my Anthropic Principle item!

    p.s. The word “Orchid” is derived from the Greek word for testicle. I just thought you would like to know that.

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