Science & Research

Phylogenetics of Euglossine Bee Pollinated Orchids

Orchids are one of the largest and most diverse groups of flowering plants, with more than 25,000 distinct species in more than 700 genera. There are many orchid genera for which there is little known about how species are related. Understanding relationships is critical for addressing evolutionary questions as well as better characterizing taxonomy, all of which have explicit conservation implications. The Euglossine-bee pollinated orchids represent a unique group of species for which evolutionary relationships among species are poorly characterized. The Garden currently houses nearly complete collections of several Euglossine-bee pollinated orchid genera, including StanhopeaGongoraAcineta and Peristeria. This project represents a first step in gaining a deeper understanding of these fascinating orchid species.