While out photographing the previous Hexalectris spicata flowers, my daughters and I noticed one spike in the area that was decidedly paler than the other emerging spikes (which were already turning a dusky red). It was several weeks away from flower, so we flagged it for a colleague to observe when he was in the area...being closer, he was able to keep tabs on the flowers as they grew, so we were able to return when they had finally opened. This is a nearly alba form of Hexalectris spicata, with only the faintest color on the tepals and lip. A true albino form, fma. wilderi, would have no color at all, while fma. albolabia would have no coloration on the lip of an otherwise normally colored flower. This form has no formal description as of yet, although something very similar is pictured in Paul Martin Brown's Wild Orchids of Florida in the section on this species.
You can read more about this species on my website (and view the typical color form) at:
>> The Hexalectris spicata profile page at Florida Native Orchids <<
Canon Digital Rebel XTi, f22, ISO100, 1/200s. Flash through a diffuser. Composite of two photographs, one of the upper flower and one of the lower flower.
Unfortunately, most of the spike had wilted due to what appeared to be the nips of a hungry insectoid creature (although it could've been a fungal or bacterial rot), so these were the only good flowers remaining.
Extreme shift (from one year to the next) - Last year we had a "very wet" dry season. This year is on track to be just the opposite: "very dry." History of dry season rainfall for the Big Cypress, 19...
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