Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A New Calendar for 2017 - Ghost Orchids!

...and only Ghost Orchids.  11 photographs, and one educational page, of this rare and enigmatic orchid that haunts the swamps of extreme southern Florida.  

The first page introduces you to the Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii) - its habits, habitat, blooming time, and a short description of the plant, along with illustrations that point out its structure and anatomy.

The remaining pages are nothing but gorgeous photos of Ghost Orchids from locations throughout southern Florida - the Fakahatchee Strand, Big Cypress Swamp and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

Click on any of the above images to go to the order page for this new calendar.  Or Click Here.  Hurry!  You still have time to order it before Christmas (or your particular holiday of choice).

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Thank You for Voting Rosebud Orchid for 2016!

Thank you to all who voted for my Rosebud Orchid photo for 2016!

This image was a finalist in the 2016 "Land of Flowers" photography contest.  I asked for your vote and folks voted in overwhelming numbers.  The winners of the contest will be announced tonight at the Friday evening social of this year's Florida Wildflower Foundation symposium.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

For Immediate Release - 'Super' Ghost Orchid at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is in full bloom

July 19th, 2016. For immediate release:

The highly anticipated bloom of the 'Super' Ghost Orchid at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Naples, Florida is underway.  First discovered in 2007, this particular famous orchid plant has failed to disappoint every year with many flowers (as many as 40) per blooming season.  It is the largest plant known of its species, Dendrophylax lindenii, known commonly as the Ghost Orchid.  This is perhaps Florida's most famous orchid species, made popular by Susan Orleans' book The Orchid Thief and the movie adapted very loosely from it, "Adaptation", starring Nicholas Cage and Meryl Streep.

As of July 18th, 2016, the orchid had eight flowers open, one wilting (likely forming a seed pod), and several more buds.  Here is a photograph showing this orchid's flowers on this date:

For those wishing to see this orchid in person, be prepared for a gentle walk along a wooden boardwalk through the nation's last remaining stand of ancient, old-growth cypress trees which once dominated Florida's landscape. Bring binoculars to spot the orchid, as it is about 100 feet away from the boardwalk. Volunteers will typically have a spotting scope trained on the orchid, but weather or other factors might prevent this on any particular day.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Ghost Orchid's Islander Cousin

The genus Dendrophylax, which includes the Florida Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii), is rather widespread throughout the Caribbean.  One easier-to-grow, but slightly less impressive, plant in this genus is Dendrophylax funalis, hailing from Jamaica.  The plants consist of a rather conspicuous, leafless growing stem with a number of gray-green roots which radiate out from this stem. Flowering stems also emerge from this growing stem, typically in the winter into spring.

The flowers bear some similarity to their Floridian cousin, lacking the long tails on the lip, bearing a shorter spur, and having medium-green tepals. Flower size is slightly smaller as well. However, just like D. lindenii, these flowers are fragrant at night, having a fragrance somewhat a mix of freshly sliced apples and fresh mushrooms.

This species is more forgiving than other members of its genus, requiring culture similar to that of many Vanda orchids - moderate water, occasional fertilizer, and medium-bright light. It is also more available in cultivation than D. lindenii, so it is a good way to get one's feet wet in leafless orchid culture before trying the harder-to-grow Floridian species.

Here is a photo of a recent flower on my cultivated Dendrophylax funalis:

Dendrophylax funalis

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