Friday 17 May
Ghost orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii)
Ghost orchid fact file
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Ghost orchid description
This beautiful orchid has recently achieved fame on the silver screen, in the film 'Adaptation' that focuses on Susan Orlean's book 'The Orchid Thief' (2). The ghost orchid is so-called due to the appearance of the leafless plant that consists only of a network of thin roots wrapped around the host branch; the flowers (borne on spikes arising from the root network) appear to be suspended in the forest air (3). The white flower also explains this species' other common name of 'frog orchid'; as the elongated lip petal resembles the back legs of a jumping frog.
- Also known as
- Florida ghost orchid, Frog orchid.
- Polyradicion lindenii, Polyrrhiza lindenii. Top
- A plant that uses another plant, typically a tree, for its physical support, but which does not draw nourishment from it.
- Metabolic process characteristic of plants in which carbon dioxide is broken down, using energy from sunlight absorbed by the green pigment chlorophyll. Organic compounds are made and oxygen is given off as a by-product.
CITES (May, 2003)
- Bernhardt, B. (2003) An Orchid Grows in Hollywood. Plant Talk, 32: 38 - 39.
- Van Alstyne, IW. (1980) Polyradicion lindenii, new name for Polyrrhiza lindenii. Florida Orchidist, 23(1): 21.
U-haul International (May, 2003)
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Ghost orchid biology
When not in flower the plant consists solely of its network of roots, which are used both to absorb moisture and for photosynthesis(4). Ghost orchids flower during the summer months, producing a succession of single flowers (3), which (in Florida) are pollinated by the giant sphinx moth (4).Top
Ghost orchid range
Found in the West Indies and in southern Florida in the United States (3).Top
Ghost orchid habitatTop
Ghost orchid status
Listed on Appendix II of CITES (1).Top
Ghost orchid threats
This orchid is now extremely rare, and such beautiful plants remain at risk from illegal collection (4).Top
Ghost orchid conservation
In Florida, the ghost orchid is fully protected and it is illegal to tamper with or remove plants of this species (4). It is also protected within the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve (4). To date, cultivation of this spectacular species has proven unsuccessful and the only method of preserving this ephemeral orchid in the wild is to protect areas of remaining habitat (4).Top
Find out more
Authenticated (5/6/03) by Dr Phillip Cribb. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
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