Dr Lou Jost, an American botanist has discovered the world’s smallest orchid in the Cerro Candelaria reserve in the eastern Andes of Ecuador. Dr Jost, who works for the EcoMinga Foundation, is one of the world's leading orchid hunters.
The discovery was quite accidental. The orchid was hidden among the roots of a larger plant. The orchid is just 2.1mm wide. The petals of the flower are just one cell thick and transparent.
More than 1,000 orchid species have been discovered in Ecuador in the past century.
Dr Jost has also recently discovered a group of 28 types of orchid of Teagueia genus evolved in a mountainous area the size of London. Discovery of 28 closely related orchids in such a small patch of land has been described as a botanical equivalent of Darwin's finches by the scientists.