The Drinking Orchid

Chicago Inter-Ocean

What is probably the most extraordinary plant ever discovered has now been found by E. A. Suverkrop of Philadelphia, who, during trips to South America, has for some years been contributing to the collection of his friend, Professor N. E. Brown of the Herbarium, Kew Gardens, London. The amazing plant which Mr. Suverkrop has now found is an orchid that takes a drink whenever it feels thirsty by letting down a tube into the water, the tube, when not in use, being coiled up on top of the plant.

"One hot afternoon," says Mr. Suverkrop, "I sat down under some brushwood at the side of a lagoon on the Rio de la Plata. Near at hand was a forest of dead, shorn trees, which had actually been choked to death by orchids and climbing cacti. In front of me, and stretching over the water of the lagoon and about a foot above it, was a branch of one of these dead trees. Here and there clusters of common planta del ayre grew on it, and a network of green cacti twined round it.

"Among the orchids I noted one different from the rest, the leaves, sharp, lancehead shaped, growing all around the root and radiating from it. From the centre or axis of the plant hung a long, slender stem about one eighth of an inch thick by one fourth inch wide, the lower end of which was in the water to a depth of about four inches.

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December 12, 1901
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