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A 'Ghost Orchid' Species Discovered in Indonesia
NATURE Indonesia

A 'Ghost Orchid' Species Discovered in Indonesia

The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) office at the Plant Conservation Agency (BKT) of the Bogor Botanical Gardens in Pasuruan, East Java, revealed on Monday the discovery of a new orchid species endemic to Java, the Gastrodia bamboo, in Phytotaxa, an international scientific journal.

The publication was jointly written by LIPI-BKT scientist Destario Metusala and University of Indonesia (UI) conservation biology scientist Jatna Supriatna.

Destario said the Gastrodia bamboo was part of the holomikotropic orchid group, the orchids of which were often called “ghost orchids” by the world’s scientists.

The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) office at the Plant Conservation Agency (BKT) of the Bogor Botanical Gardens in Pasuruan, East Java, revealed on Monday the discovery of a new orchid species endemic to Java, the Gastrodia bamboo, in Phytotaxa, an international scientific journal. Image: JP/Aman Rochman
The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) office at the Plant Conservation Agency (BKT) of the Bogor Botanical Gardens in Pasuruan, East Java, revealed on Monday the discovery of a new orchid species endemic to Java, the Gastrodia bamboo, in Phytotaxa, an international scientific journal. Image: JP/Aman Rochman

He said he and other researchers named the new orchid species Gastrodia bamboo to refer to bamboo as its specific habitat.

"Based the population records, species of Gastrodia bamboo are endemic orchids in Java, especially in West Java and Yogyakarta," Destario told Tempo.

Destario further said the Gastrodia bamboo was an endemic orchid found only on Java Island, especially in West Java and Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The population of the ghost orchid was declining due to habitat destruction, he added.

Destario further explained that the Gastrodia bamboo grew in a dark and moist habitat, always close to thick and old bamboo clusters.

Rare species: A joint team of scientists from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) office at the Plant Conservation Agency (BKT) of the Bogor Botanical Gardens in Pasuruan, East Java, have discovered a new orchid species, the Gastrodia bamboo, endemic to Java. Image: JP/Aman Rochman
Rare species: A joint team of scientists from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) office at the Plant Conservation Agency (BKT) of the Bogor Botanical Gardens in Pasuruan, East Java, have discovered a new orchid species, the Gastrodia bamboo, endemic to Java. Image: JP/Aman Rochman

"Unsurprisingly, this species has 'horror' connotation," said Destario to Antara.

Like other holomikotropic orchids, the Gastrodia bamboo has no chlorophyll, so it does not carry out the photosynthesis process. The orchid species is also not parasitic.

“Its life cycle depends on organic nutritional supply through a symbiosis with mycorrhiza fungus,” he said.

“It is hoped the discovery strengthens biodiversity conservation in the future,” said Lia to The Jakarta Post.

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