Rare orchid found at Longwood Gardens in Chester County

CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. (WPVI) -- An orchid usually found in Japan and China has turned up at Longwood Gardens in Chester County.

Officials say it could have been there for a decade without anyone noticing it.

The rare orchid was spotted over the summer in a back wooded lot of the gardens.

It has fruit rather than flowers.

It was discovered by a Longwood Gardens employee as he was taking a walk.

The orchid has such specific nutritional needs that it has never before been found in the United States.

"We think that the seeds may have hitchhiked on the root ball of another plant that we were importing, and when we look at the records, we know a lot of plants were coming from Japan the late 1970s and early 1980s, so the timing matches up there," said Peter Zale of Longwood Gardens.

Experts are now trying to figure out exactly how it's growing and what it's feeding on.

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