Specimen Spotlight - Cobra Orchid

February 12, 2021
Cobra Orchid

Darlingtonia californica Torrey (Cobra Orchid) is interesting for its strange morphology and carnivorous nature. As noted in the Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express in 1936, the Cobra Orchid eats ants, insects, and more. This specimen from our Gray Herbarium (GH), collected in Plumas County, California by Mrs. R. M. Austin in 1878, is particularly fascinating for us because it has the remains of a frog still in it! Look closely – can you find it? It certainly surprised our digitizer! It’s not every day one finds a vertebrate when imaging plants!

Please see the full image here.