Caution: risque floral images
Friend Leo sent me an email that had me wordering whether it was real or whether it was one of those photoshopped fictional jobs that evokes a response of “Yeah, sure it is.”
So I did some looking up on the internet and was quite surprised.
First, Leo’s email:
Another example of the wonder of nature!!
They even have faces!
The flower is called Hanging Naked Men, so do not Google Hanging Naked Men or you might see really Naked Men ...........
It is called Orchis Italica, or The Naked Man Orchid. So funny. They come in all sorts of shapes and, umm… sizes.
Which brings me to research.
The admonition against googling Hanging Naked Men of course inspired me to do so. Needless to say it was a mix of flowers and what the words literally say, with the word “hanging” having a number of depictions.
There really is a Hanging Naked Man flower.
According to Wikipedia:
Orchis italica, commonly known as the naked man orchid or the Italian orchid, is a species of orchid native to the Mediterranean. They are widely popular for their petals looking like naked men. It prefers partial shade and low nutrient soil and flowers in April. O. italica grows up to 50 centimetres (20 in) in height, with bright pink, densely clustered flowers. They are found commonly and widespread in the Mediterranean in large clusters.
I wonder whether they would grow in Sydney and how you get one. I doubt that my wife would be willing to go into Flower Power and ask “Do you have any Hanging Naked Men?”
(Part 2, "Orchids that look like animals", next week).
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