A gorgeous species of new orchid in Panama has a new name — it was named after the family of the researcher who discovered the flower.
The orchid, which belongs to the Lophiaris genus, was named Lophiaris silverarum after Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father, who discovered the plant about eight years ago while they were hiking in a mountainous area of central Panama.
“I have always liked orchids, since I was a kid,” said Silvera, who grew up surrounded by orchids because her parents own a commercial orchid business in Panama. “That got me into studying biology,” Silvera said.
She and her father had gone out looking for potential new plant species. When they found the orchid, they contacted orchid expert German Carnevali.
“After looking at the plant for a while, he informed us that it was a new species, and that it was very rare,” Silvera told Live Science.
However, the new species was not actually named until recently, as describing a new plant species tends to be a long process. Researchers usually have to study the plant’s structures and examine its biochemistry to determine whether it is indeed a species that has not been described before, Silvera said.