This fascinating orchid is flowering in the West Tropics House.
This South American orchid has the highly appropriate common name ‘bucket orchid’. The flowers are fragrant and attract male euglossine wasps who are eager to daub themselves in this scent to attract female bees. The flower structure is such that the male bees are plunged into the water-filled bucket, and can only escape by crawling past the flower column. As the bees pass this column the flower contracts, forcing the bee to rub against the pollinia, thus pollinating the flower. In its natural habitat Coryanthes macrantha grows in warm, lowland, wet forests, and in cultivation requires high humidity and high temperatures.