New hybrid orchid created in Britain

August 4, 2006

The Hartslock Nature Reserve in Oxfordshire, England, has successfully interbred a monkey orchid and a lady orchid to produce a new hybrid variety.

The Independent reported that the botanical feat is the first of its kind in Britain and its success could help determine the past and the future of the flower's evolution.

"We should be moving away from the idea of protecting individual species in this case and instead be thinking about 'conservation of process,' that is to say, maintaining the capacity of species to evolve and disperse," said Dr. Mike Faye, whose Royal Botanical Gardens team conducted the experiment. "If hybridization between closely related species is part of that, then so be it."

No official name has been reported for the new hybrid, but the intermediate variety of the two orchids has been officially verified by scientists at London's Natural History Museum, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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