This tentacled, parasitic ‘fairy lantern’ plant is new to science

In the weird world of chlorophyll-free “fairy lantern” plants, there’s a new species to admire.

Fairy lanterns (Thismia) are a type of mysterious, parasitic herb that look like something from another planet. Their pint-size flowers can have psychedelic shapes and bright colors, and they have evolved to lure in fungus gnats and other insects as pollinators. In the Malaysian rainforest, the vibrant saffron flowers of a never-before-seen Thismia species sprout just above the dense leaf litter, researchers report May 31 in PhytoKeys

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