Love is in the air at the National Museum of Natural History! Our scientists are helping species look for love in this series of “dating profiles” to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Will #NMNHcupid help them find their one and only?
Screen name: purple_petals
Species: Platanthera psycodes
Age/orientation/sex: [no age]/bisexual/hermaphrodite
Location: moist, open habitats in Eastern North America
Height: 20-90 cm tall
Body type: terrestrial orchid with deeply fringed petals
Diet: water, minerals, and sugars (made from scratch)
What I'm doing with my life: I’m currently being featured in the orchid exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History! Come check it out, I have my very own panel.
The first thing people usually notice about me: my purple fringe.
3 Things I could never do without: water, light, and of course mycorrizal fungi—couldn’t get my nutrients without them! Seriously, we have a pretty co-dependent relationship, me and those Tulasnella fungi.
I think a lot about: moving north. I love cool habitats, and it’s getting a little too warm in parts of my regular range.
On a typical Friday, you’ll find me: growing near a stream, meadow, bog, swamp, ditch, or coniferous forest edge. Actually, that’s where I spend all my days…
The most private thing I'm willing to share: some people are put off by my species name, but I’m not crazy! It’s from the ancient Greek psychodes, which means “butterfly-like.” I guess my petals kind of resemble a fluttering butterfly, and I am pretty soulful.
I'm looking for: a pollinator (preferably a hawkmoth), or even a fun guy—sorry, I mean fungi—to hang out with.
By Juliana Olsson, Exhibits Writer/Editor, National Museum of Natural History