5-speed listening (Orchids - Level 5)

Botanists find world's ugliest orchid






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People believe orchids are the epitome of beauty. These colourful, delicate and fragrant blooms are often the centrepiece of floral displays. However, botanists from the Royal Botanic Gardens in the UK have just decided on the world's ugliest orchid. It was found last year in a forest in Madagascar. One saving grace for this newly-unearthed orchid is its smell. The scientists say the flower has a beautiful rose-like fragrance. There are over 25,000 individual species of orchid, so it is likely that one or two might not be so exquisite.

Researcher Johan Hermans described the "ugly" orchid. He said: "It's not very attractive...It's fleshy looking, red inside and brown on the outside." Scientists are excited at finding the plant. They believe there could be many more hiding in the undergrowth not yet discovered. The bad news for the new orchid is that it is already considered to be an endangered species. Researcher Martin Cheek warned of a "bleak reality". He said: "With two in five plants threatened with extinction, it is a race against time to find, identify, name, and conserve plants before they disappear."

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