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New, Rare Orchid Brought To St. Paul Winter Carnival

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Gordy Leach Gordy Leach
Gordy Leach graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1974 wi...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — The St. Paul Winter Carnival had its annual orchid show over the weekend. A grower from Plymouth brought a rare new flower, with a name to match.

Phragmipedium kovachii is a new orchid, that was discovered in Peru and brought to Minnesota.

Jerry Lee Fischer, of Orchids Limited, described the process — more than seven years — to grow and reproduce the plant here.

“Well in 2003, a new orchid was discovered in Peru, which was the most spectacular discovery at least in 100 years, Phragmipedium Kavachii. That’s a very large flowered ladyslipper,” he said.

“It’s got flowers about this big bright pink and purple, very dark magenta lip. So it’s a very rare plant. That’s kind of the normal size for this family — they can be a little longer petaled and so on. But when you see that one next to it, it’s like, ‘Whoa.'”

“In 2005, I flew down to Peru bought these little orchids and seedlings in glass jars and brought them back to the United States and now this is seven years later and they’re really beginning to bloom in profusion. Right now a seedling will cost around a couple hundred dollars. Now that price should come down, about in half, in about a year,” he said. “Large plants can be really expensive, like, into the thousands of dollars. We know how to do it now, and they’re becoming more vigorous from seed. So, when these bloom everybody looks at them, and they’re just blown away because the flowers are so huge.”

“How this was missed by all the early explorers looking for orchids is still a mystery because it’s just so spectacular,” Fischer said.

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