New 'ghost' orchid species discovered on Java

A joint team of scientists from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) office at the Plant Conservation Agency (BKT) have discovered a new orchid species, the Gastrodia bamboo, endemic to Java.
A joint team of scientists from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) office at the Plant Conservation Agency (BKT) have discovered a new orchid species, the Gastrodia bamboo, endemic to Java.PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
A joint team of scientists from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) office at the Plant Conservation Agency (BKT) have discovered a new orchid species, the Gastrodia bamboo, endemic to Java.
A joint team of scientists from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) office at the Plant Conservation Agency (BKT) have discovered a new orchid species, the Gastrodia bamboo, endemic to Java.PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MALANG, EAST JAVA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) -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 (Sept 19) 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.

"The discovery of this new orchid species was an invaluable gift for LIPI's 50th anniversary, which fell on Aug 23," LIPI-BKT dissemination and partnership supervisor Lia Hapsari said on Wednesday (Sept 20).

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.

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

Destario further said the Gastrodia bamboo was an endemic orchid found only on Java Island, especially in West Java and Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta.

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.

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.