The ghost orchid (Polyradicion lindenii) is considered Florida's most stunning native orchid. It is found in swamps in the Fakahatchee, Big Cypress and Corkscrew areas of Collier and Hendry Counties. The Ghost Orchid received its name because the flower appears to be floating in mid-air. Ribbon-like roots attach to the host tree – commonly pop ash, pond apple and bald cypress.
Typically a plant has one or two blooms, but some plants have produced as many as 12. Flowers are white to creamy green colored and range between 3 to 5 inches in size. Ghost orchids are infrequent bloomers with flowers not appearing for years after a bloom year. An individual bloom can last up to 10-14 days. The flower is nocturnally fragrant.
Pollination is done by the Giant Sphinx Moth, the only local insect with a long enough proboscis to reach the pollen. Seeds are dispersed by wind and must land on a rough-barked tree. Germination does not occur unless a particular fungus is present where seed lands.
© Vince Lamb