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greenhood

(genus Pterostylis), any of almost 100 species of orchids (family Orchidaceae) native to Australasia. Greenhoods have dull-coloured, hooded flowers that trap insects. The lip of the flower is hinged and seals the entrance route of an insect that enters the flower to obtain its sweet nectar. The insect must leave by means of a special tunnel through the column that is lined with hairs. Packets of pollen grains become attached to the insect as it escapes, and the pollen is thus carried to other flowers. Some species of greenhoods are commonly known as shell orchids. The jug orchid (P. recurva) is named for its shape. The hooded orchid (P. banksii) is native to New Zealand, and the closely related P. baptisii is from neighbouring Australia.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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