Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spooky Orchids for Halloween

Here are a few spooky-looking or spooky-named fall-blooming orchids from the state of Florida:

Habenaria odontopetala, or the toothpetal false rein orchid, is in flower now. The small, 1/2-inch-wide flowers look like small goblins. The spiderwebs add to the spooky effect. Did I mention that these flowers are only fragrant at night? Haunting Florida swamps and forests with their ghostly fragrance.

Another fall-blooming orchid, the Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) blooms in September in central Florida, spreading into December in south Florida. The flowers have somewhat of a resemblance to erect-eared, fanged dog heads. With multiple "heads" per spike (which can reach up to five feet tall), these are a worthy botanical analogue of Cerberus, the multi-headed dog guarding the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology.

Usually, this orchid blooms in summertime, although occasional fall-blooming plants are found. Still, with the common name of Ghost Orchid, Dendrophylax lindenii is a perfect Halloween orchid. It is also keenly night fragrant, pollinated by the Giant Sphinx Moth that also inhabits Florida's haunted southern swamps.

Click the "View the Gallery" graphic at the top of this blog page to see many more photos of Florida's amazing orchids.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hats off to the state of Florida and volunteers!

A road widening project underway in Volusia county threatened a number of native species, including the threatened Scarlet Ladies' Tresses (Sacoila lanceolata).  The state DOT, along with volunteers, ensured that plants and animals threatened by the expansion would stand a chance of survival.

Read the article.

Find out more about the Scarlet Ladies Tresses by clicking the thumbnail below:

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