© Sophie NADOT/ESE/CNRS Images



Orchis guerrier

Military orchid, Orchis militaris, the upper part of whose flower is in the form of a military helmet and the labellum adorned with bright pink spots is anthropomorphic. The petals of some orchids adopt forms of remarkable complexity that attract specialist pollinating insects. These orchid flower shapes diversified due to changes in the regulation of the genes activated during petal formation. This was observed in particular in the outline of the medial petal, which forms the lip of the flower, and which adopts a very different shape and colour to the other petals due to specific gene activation.

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