The star of Bethlehem

In The Botanical Garden, Uppsala university.
Photo: Roland Moberg

In Madagascar there is an orchid with a spur, more than 30 cm long. It is called the Star of Bethlehem or Angraecum sesquipedale. When Darwin saw it in the 19th century, he realized that there must be a moth with almost as long a proboscis pollinating the orchid.

In 1903 such a moth was discovered in Madagascar, a moth given the name Xanthopan morgani ssp. praedicta. Praedicta means the predicted.

The pollination of the Star of Bethlehem takes place during night, and after a long time the pollination has been seen and filmed. The moth Xanthopan morganii praedicta pollinating the Star of Bethlehemn  (new window)

Last modified: 2021-11-25