Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Prosthechea cochleata - An Increasingly Rare Orchid

Prosthechea cochleata, known as the Clamshell Orchid and the Black Orchid in Belize (it is their national flower) is relatively common in the tropical areas to the south of Florida, and it makes a tenuous foray into the southern swamps as well.  In times past, this would have been counted as one of the more abundant epiphytes in Florida, but habitat loss and collecting have made this increasingly hard to find.  Entire areas that once supported large colonies of this species have been stripped bare in recent years.  This is truly senseless, as this is not a hard species to find in cultivation, available commercially from many on-line orchid vendors and shipped right to your door.

This particular plant is a rather robust one, found deep in the Fakahatchee Strand.  It was in full flower in late November.  Interestingly enough, this particular plant was also photographed by the legendary Clyde Butcher and appears on his website.

Flowering spikes typically emerge in fall and bloom throughout the winter, providing no freakish weather occurs, bringing frost to the swamps.

Please don't take orchid plants from the wild, instead, leave them for others to enjoy.

Here is the profile page on the Florida Native Orchid website (click to follow it):

http://www.flnativeorchids.com/natives_gallery/prosthechea_cochleata.htm 


And here is one of the photographs we took that day:


Florida Clamshell Orchid (Prosthechea cochleata)

Post a Comment
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...