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Update: New Demon-Looking Orchid Species Already On IUCN's Critically Endangered List

Jul 15, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
Exotic Orchids On Display At RHS Wisley
Researchers recently discovered a new but critically endangered species that features a terrifying character--a flower head that looks like a demon.
(Photo : Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Orchid or demon? A team of researchers from Poland and Colombia recently discovered a new species of orchid that looks like it has the head of a demon, but it's already been added to the list of endangered species.

A Flower with Killer Looks

Meet the Telipogon diabolicus, named after its demonic look. The strange orchid was discovered growing in a small patch of land in between two Colombian departments and sports a reddish to dark violet-maroon coating.

According to the study published in the journal Phyto Keys, the orchid grows between 5.5 and 9 centimetres tall. What makes it unique, though, is its heart that bears a striking resemblance to a demon's head with horns. Adding to its terrifying look is its clawed petals.

New Discovery But Already Endangered

Discovered by Dr. Marta Kolanowska, Prof. Dariusz Szlachetko and Dr. Ramiro Medina Trejo, there's only 30 known Telipogon diabolicus at present.

According to, the devil orchid is critically endangered because its habitat is only limited to a small area in Southern Colombia and only have a single population. The small number resulted to the orchids being included in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List.

"In the most recent catalogue of Colombian plants, almost 3600 orchid species representing nearly 250 genera are included," the researchers said. "However, there is no doubt that hundreds of species occurring in this country remain undiscovered. Only in 2015 over 20 novelties were published based on material collected in Colombia."

5 New Orchid Species

The discovery follows a June report from Rappler that five new orchid species have been discovered in the Philippine. The flowers bloomed in the mountains of war-torn Mindanao, specifically in hard-to-reach-areas only accessible by foot.

The newly discovered species include a yellow bloom orchid with brown spots, as well as red and purple varieties of the genus. The newly discovered orchids also include red-lipped white Dendrobium, a dark red Epicrianthes, and a green slipper orchid with red stripes.

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