Devils for You

Imagine yourself running late because of work. Tonight is a special night. It’s the one year anniversary of dating your special someone. You couldn’t afford to be late. You knew that your special someone is, at the present moment waiting for you to finally arrive and keep that promise of yours. All hell would break loose if you didn’t.

So after freshening up, you frantically look for the nearest flower shop, praying to God that it’s not closed yet. And He must have heard your prayers, because the shop was in fact open. You hurriedly walk in and the bell atop the door clangs. You see the last bouquet of flowers and shout “Eureka!”, making a beeline towards it. Grinning, you pick up the flowers, turn them towards you and bang, you drop them. Your face twists in horror. Seems like all hell have broken loose.


Beautiful Orchids or Hidden Evils? Image Credit chrisusax via Flickr

You should have realised by now that the flowers you picked up from the flower shop are no ordinary flowers. Oh no, those babies look like they’ve been born off the devil. You’ll see why they’re special in a moment though.


Telipogon diabolicus: a name that could rival that of ‘He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’ or ‘You-Know-Who’. Sounds diabolical, right? Scientists have unearthed this new species of dark beauty from South Colombia. Named after its devil-shaped gynostemium or the reproductive organ, this demon orchid has a devil head and claw-like petals. Having clawed petals is a feature not seen in any other Colombian species of the genus Telipogon and is really special and unique to T. diabolicus. Orchids are well known for looking like something else such as bees, lips and the devil.


The devil himself staring at you from the flowery depths. Image Credit Sigred Philipsen via Flickr

These orchids are dark red/violet-maroon in colour and are translucent. The stem grows to about 5.5 to 9 cm in length. About thirty of them were found in South Colombia but only some were flowering mature adults.

Conservation Status and the Future

The demon orchid is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. Unfortunately though newly discovered, the demon orchid may soon face its diabolical demise of extinction sooner rather than later which is truly heart-breaking after just having been discovered.

Telipogon diabolicus lives near a main road. Its habitat is an unusually tiny piece of land between two Colombian departments. Changes have been planned to reconstruct this main road and this is very bad news for the demon orchid. It may very well mean that the flower will have no place to plant itself in the future.

What Remains to be Discovered

Telipogon diabolicus remains just one of the 3600 species of orchids found in Colombia. As you all know with any other plant or animal, we haven’t uncovered everything yet. There are still probably hundreds, if not thousands, of orchid species out there waiting for humans to discover. Just like T. diabolicus. We just have to know where to look and hopefully do something right so we won’t lose them. Ever.

Flowery Stinks and Interesting Links:

 ‘Demon Orchid’ Has a ‘Devil Head’ and Claw-Like Petals

Orchid or demon: Flower of a new species of orchid looks like a devil’s head

Video: Scientists Believe New Orchid Found in Colombia Has Flowers Shaped like Demon Head