Monday, February 28, 2011

A Giant of Liliputian Proportions - Pteroglossaspis ecristata

Pteroglossaspis ecristata is a plant of contradictions. While once fairly common in Florida, its population has declined in recent years, becoming much harder to find in flower. Its paper-thin leaves are reinforced with stiff veins, making them resemble a palmetto seedling. Its sometimes exceptionally tall flowering stems are capped with small flowers, each only 1 to 1.5 cm tall.


My son, Josh, admiring a tall flowering plant.

While inflorescences up to 5.5 feet (1.7 meters) are not unheard of, a more typical flowering stem height is 2 to 3 feet (0.7 to 0.9 meters) tall.



The flowers themselves are not extraordinarily attractive...perhaps more bizarre than anything else. Luer, in an illustration in his book, likens them to a number of turbaned Sikhs peering around the stem. Paul Martin Brown describes them as "green and black orchids on a stick". It is often hard to capture more than one or two flowers face-on in a photograph owing to how the flowers twist around the stem.



You can read more about this species here:

>> Pteroglossaspis ecristata information page <<
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