Speed Reading — Orchids - Level 3 — 100 wpm

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Nature is full of secrets. There are still many things to find out about it. One of those things was discovered last week in Japan. It is rare to find a new plant in Japan. Its trees, flowers and other flora are well documented. However, an amateur naturalist came across a new species of orchid in Tokyo. Scientists studied the flower and believe it grows in parks and gardens across Japan. The newly-found orchid is beautiful. It is pink and white, and its delicate petals look like they are made from glass. Professor Kenji Suetsugu from Kobe University said: "The discovery of new species in common places means it is necessary to keep exploring, even in everyday places that don't look so remarkable."

There are about 28,000 orchid species worldwide. The new orchid belongs to a class called Spiranthes. There are about 50 different kinds of Spiranthes. They are the most common kind of orchid in Japan. They are mentioned in a Japanese poem from the year 759. Professor Suetsugu said he and his colleagues were "thrilled to have identified a new species". He said it was exciting because it wasn't found hidden deep in a rainforest or jungle. The discovery of the new orchid is good news. However, many orchids are on the endangered species list. This is because of habitat loss. We need to protect natural environments to stop flowers disappearing. If we lose more orchids, the world will be less colourful.

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