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The Exotic Rainforest



Brassia rex

Some orchids are just too strange to be orchids.  That's certainly true of all the orchids that are members of the Brassia tribe. .  But count the petals and the sepals.  Three of each, so it's legitimately an orchid.  With 6 inch and larger flowers that look more like a spider than an orchid, the strange beauty known as Brassia rex and it's tribe mates were named in honor of William Brass, a 19th-century British botanical illustrator.  This beauty is found in very wet rainforests in Central and South America.  Some species in the genus Brassia are pollinated by an equally strange parasitic wasp which lay eggs on the back's of real spiders. The patterns of Brassia orchids resemble a spider in its web closely enough to convince the wasps to lay their eggs in the plants' spidery looking blossoms. By doing so the female wasps also gather the orchid's pollen and carry it to other flowers and plants thus pollinating each additional plant.  Nature is one strange lady!  Brassia does do well in any situation where it gets fairly bright light (not direct) and is watered frequently.