A flower's demise is a slow process—unless you're photographer Jon Shireman, in which case it happens with a quick pivot and a smash. He immerses his flowers to stiffen them, then flings them against a hard surface. The shattered remains are beautiful.
The discovery of the world's smallest orchid is, fittingly, the story of an intrepid explorer, an enigmatic flower, and the curious luck that brought them together. All but transparent, the flower's petals are one-cell thick, and its blossom is just 2.1 mm wide from tip to tip.