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Botany Photo of the Day
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Dracula simia

Dracula simia

Thanks to Eric in SF@Flickr for today's photograph (original) via the BPotD Flickr Pool, and thanks to Ruth again for today's write-up:

"I want to suck your blood!" Although Ecuador and Transylvania are on separate continents, this gorgeously creepy orchid was named Dracula simia by the botanist Luer in 1978. Although this small orchid is not at all parasitic, one can see its resemblance to the "popped collar" cape of the popular representation of Dracula. Also, the spurs on the ends of the three petals somewhat resemble the fictional Dracula's fangs. The name Dracula literally translates to "little dragon", whereas the specific epithet simia translates to "monkey". The genus Dracula contains 120+ known species. Dracula simia is from the cloud forests of southeast Ecuador, where it grows at elevations between 1000-2000 meters (3250-6500 feet). In general, species of Dracula enjoy cooler temperatures -- do not let their environments exceed 27 degrees C (80 degrees F). They also enjoy a humid environment (80-90%) with a slight breeze.

Ecology Photographic has more photographs of Dracula.

The Transylvanian-born King of Romania, Vlad Tepes, was nicknamed "The Impaler" for his terrifying rule during the 1400s, when 40,000+ people were killed by his brutal methods. His "hunger" for blood and willingness to kill developed into the modern story of Dracula. BOO!

11 Comments

Eric in SF commented:

Ruth's analysis of the etymology of the genus name Dracula is a little unclear.

The following quote from "The Genus Dracula" by John Leathers, Gary Meyer, Joe Parker, and Kenneth Cameron, in Orchid Digest, Vol 72-4 (Oct, Nov, Dec 2008) makes it a little clearer:

"A common misconception is that Dr. Luer named this genus after the infamous Count Dracula. [...] In actuality, "Dracula" means "little dragon". Luer chose this name because the apparent 'faces' within the flowers, ranging from whimsical to scary. Subsequently, Luer playfully acknowledged the vampire connection with species names like vampira, chiroptera, and nosferatu.

The plant in today's photo is a slightly unusual pale color form and was grown by Dan Newman, in Pacifica, CA.

Eric in SF commented:

PS. Here is Dracula vlad-tepes, grown and photographed by Gary Meyer.

lavender commented:

wow ! at just glance of this photo , i thought it is not plant or flower , just mistake look like monkey baby !

very nice !

thank you Ruth and Daniel !


lavender

phillip commented:

....yup....thats a monkeyula...ha..!

Ruth's Biggest Fan commented:

Go Ruth!!! Another amazing tid-bit of flower information hahaha Always flawless, you remind me of a beautiful orchid. By the way, what are you doing this weekend??

Don Fenton commented:

The Order Of the Dragon Was a crusading order during the attacks of the Turks on Western Europe during the Early Modern period. The [founding] head of the order was Count Drac [dragon] so that his son, who succeeded to the job, was nominated Dracula [little dragon].
The Ausralian Orchid Review, a few years ago, published a wonderful series of photies of Dracula and related genera. I have read that Dracula and his mates are very popular in cultivation on the East coast of Australia.
The current photy is as aggressively vampirical as any that I've seen. Congratulations!

Deb commented:

Look like little bats hanging upside down!

elizabeth a airhart commented:

now you all scat and
get away from my windows

Mary Ann, in Toronto commented:

Wonderful! Coupla little monkeys standing on all fours and staring right at you!

ian commented:

I was reminded of the winged monkeys from "The Wizard of Oz".

Rosa Wines commented:

I wanted to know if there are any of the monkey orchids for sale ,ad if so where can you order them!

Comments are closed.

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