Stanhopea ruckeri is a tropical orchid native to Central America. This is an epiphyte – a plant that grows on top of trees and other plants but is not a parasite. This is a common phenomenon in tropical rainforests because plants growing in higher locations enjoy more of the sunlight that is essential for their growth, and which is a scarce resource in the dark, dense forest. Growing on top of other plants, epiphytes can reach higher places without investing time and energy in developing a supporting stem. Therefore, this epiphyte grows "upside down" – with inflorescences hanging downwards from the bottom of the plant pot. As in many other orchids, Stanhopea species do not produce nectar and are uniquely pollinated by males of "orchid bees" (Euglossini). The male bees actively collect scent substances from the flowers using special brushes on their legs, and it is assumed that these substances serve them in courting female bees. We were recently glad to see Stanhopea ruckeri flowering in the tropical greenhouse at the botanical garden.    

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