Holcoglossum amesianum

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Holcoglossum amesianum
Holcoglossum amesianum - Flickr 003.jpg
Scientific classification
H. amesianum
Binomial name
Holcoglossum amesianum
(Rchb.f.) Christenson (1987)
  • Vanda amesiana Rchb.f. (1887) Basionym
  • Vanda amesiana var. alba B.S. Williams (1894)
  • Holcoglossum amesianum f. album (B.S. Williams) Christenson (1993)

Holcoglossum amesianum is an orchid species in the genus Holcoglossum. It is unique in the plant kingdom as the only known flower to pollinate itself.[1]


Rather than depending on insects or even the wind for pollination, scientists have discovered that Holcoglossum amesianum actually fertilizes itself. The orchid defies gravity to twist the male part of its flower into the necessary shape to fertilize the female one.[2]

The plant does so without the help of sticky fluids or other methods used by self-pollinating plants to ensure that the pollen reaches the egg. It grows on tree trunks in China's Yunnan province and flowers during the dry, windless months of February to April.

The orchid produces no scent or nectar. Instead, the pollen-bearing anther uncovers itself and rotates into a suitable position to insert into the stigma cavity, where fertilization takes place. This sexual relationship is so exclusive that flowers do not even transfer pollen to other flowers on the same plant.


  1. ^ Observed, Smithsonian, September 2006, p. 24
  2. ^ Liu, KW; Liu ZJ; Huang L; Li LQ; Chen LJ; Tang GD (22 June 2006). "Pollination: self-fertilization strategy in an orchid". Nature. 441 (7096): 945–6. doi:10.1038/441945a. PMID 16791185.

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