The Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii)

The Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii), also know as the Palm Polly or White Frog Orchid, is one of the rarest Orchids in the world. The Ghost Orchid was discovered by the Belgian plant collector Jean Jules Linden. Jean Jules Linden came across the Ghost Orchid while in Cuba in 1844 and it was not until much later that the Ghost Orchid was found growing in the Everglades at the south of the state of Florida in the United States.

An epiphyte the Ghost Orchid can be found most notably growing on the trunks of trees such as the pond apple and pop ash trees. Royal palm, live oak and cypress trees also support the Ghost Orchid thought this is less common.

Preferring moist and somewhat humid conditions the Ghost Orchid resides in swampy forests in the southwest of Florida and Cuba. The Ghost Orchid flowers from May through to September with June being the time when the blooms of this wonderful Orchid are at their peak.

One of the reasons that the Ghost Orchid is so rare, classed as an endangered species, is because it has proved very difficult in the past to cultivate the Orchid outside of its natural environment.

In Florida the Ghost Orchid grows predominantly in the Big Cypress Swamp as well as the adjacent areas of Corkscrew Swamp and Fakahatchee Strand.

Regarded as a leafless Orchid the Ghost Orchid has flat gray/green roots with small silver track marks. It is these root that absorb moisture from the surrounding atmosphere and provide the Ghost Orchid with food via photosynthesis. Thanks to the gray/green colour of the root system, which almost matches the colour of the trees on which it grows, the Orchid has the appearance of hovering in thin air and hence why it has been named the Ghost Orchid.

Flowering on Spikes that grow from its root network the Ghost Orchid can produce up to ten fragrant blooms at a time. However it is extremely rare for a Ghost Orchid to have more than one flower in bloom at a time. Nicknamed the Superghost the Ghost Orchid at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is famous for having the greatest known amount of flowers in bloom at one time; twelve.

Because of low growing Ghost Orchids being poached if you would like to view Ghost Orchids in the wild then some kind of telephoto lens must be used. It seems that one of the most beautiful Orchids in the world is also a victim of its own fame and popularity.

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