Angraecum sesquipedale

An orchid with history

Angraecum Sesquipedale

Photo by CT Johansson [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

When the great naturalist Charles Darwin saw the 12- to 18-inch-long nectar spur of this Madagascar orchid, he pondered over its pollinator, eventually proposing a moth with a long proboscis, though none was known at the time. He was proven correct posthumously, 40 years later, when the hawkmoth Xanthopan morganii praedicta (as in “predicted”) was found.