Corkscrew Sanctuary is Home to Many Rare Species of Orchids

In the summer of 2019, the “Super” Ghost Orchid at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary stole the headlines when researchers published jaw-dropping news about the identity of its pollinators. The Ghost Orchid, however, is not the only gorgeous species of threatened and endangered orchid that calls the Sanctuary home.

Located in a climate zone that mixes temperate and tropical ecosystems, Corkscrew Swamp offers a rich diversity of plant life. The Sanctuary sits at or near the southern limit for many temperate species, as well as at or near the northern limit for some tropical species. The humidity of the swamp protects many of the tropical species from frost and cold weather. 

Plants here also enjoy the protections of the Sanctuary, which was founded in 1954 to preserve the largest existing stand of old-growth bald cypress in the world. Plants outside the Sanctuary are vulnerable to habitat destruction, logging, development, and over-collecting.

Polystachya concreta ENDANGERED. The Yellow Helmet Orchid is found in south Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Usually flowers August to December, but sometimes other times of year.
Epidendrum amphistomum ENDANGERED. The Dingy-flowered Star Orchid is found in south Florida, the Caribbean, Central America, and northern part of South America. Usually blooms January through April.
Dendrophylax porrectus THREATENED. The Jingle Bell Orchid, also known as Needleroot Orchid, grows mostly on small twigs and branches in semi-sunny locations, and is found in Florida, the Caribbean, and much of Central America. Usually blooms in November.
Prosthechea cochleate ENDANGERED. The Florida Clamshell Orchid is found in south Florida and can flower year-round, but usually September through May.

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