The first buds of the season have been spotted on the “Super” Ghost Orchid at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
Discovered in July 2007, the Corkscrew "Super" Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii) remains in the spotlight each summer, although it has had flowers on it over the years in fall, winter, and spring as well. The largest ghost orchid ever discovered, its blossoms draw international attention year after year.
"The annual ghost orchid bloom is a reminder of the beauty and uniqueness of the bald cypress forest at the Sanctuary," said Sanctuary director Lisa Korte, Ph.D., "The Naples community came together to save this special forest from logging in 1954 and it continues to surprise and delight us each year. We hope that today’s efforts to protect natural resources at the Sanctuary will benefit future generations," she added.
In 2019, the orchid bloomed from June 27 through September 27, with a maximum number of eight flowers at one time. While the Sanctuary remains closed, we hope to re-open in July, leaving visitors plenty of time to see the famous flower.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary’s unique wetland ecosystem makes the growth of this rare orchid possible. Sanctuary staff and partners published a groundbreaking scientific paper detailing ghost orchid pollination in 2019 and highlighted the increased risk for ghost orchids at the Sanctuary as a result of water loss from regional land-use changes. The paper notes: “Small and large scale wetland restoration projects within the Greater Everglades can help maintain and restore climatic stability for both ghost orchids and their hawkmoth pollinators.”
Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and a Wetland of Distinction recognized by the Society of Wetland Scientists, has been an Audubon-protected site for more than 100 years. It protects over 13,000 acres, including the world’s largest remaining, old-growth bald cypress forest. An estimated 100,000 visitors annually explore the Sanctuary’s 2.25 miles of boardwalk through an ancient forest, marsh, and upland habitats.