The legendary “Super” Ghost Orchid at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is again in bloom. This year’s first flower appeared on Thursday, June 27, 2019. There are multiple buds on the orchid, meaning more flowers could shortly be in bloom.
The “Super” Ghost Orchid is perched 50 feet up in an old growth Bald Cypress tree 100 feet off the Sanctuary’s famous boardwalk, so the blooms often can’t be seen with just the naked eye. The Sanctuary positions a spotting scope to aid visitors in viewing this rare and endangered plant, which is special even among Ghost Orchids due to its size and abundance of blooms.
Binoculars also provide good views of the flowering plant. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has binoculars available for rent for $3. Visitors who have cameras with strong lenses also get great views – and great photographs.
The “Super” Ghost Orchid was discovered in 2007 by a visitor on the boardwalk who was looking through binoculars in search of owls. The orchid is decades old but possibly went undetected until 2007 because it was hidden by a cypress branch that broke off during Hurricane Wilma.
The "Super" Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii) has been in the spotlight since its discovery as it produces many flowers year after year, mostly in summer. It has bloomed in every month (not in the same calendar year.) In 2014, it produced over 40 flowers throughout the year. In 2018, it had flowers for 85 consecutive days, with the first flower appearing on July 8, 2018, and the final two flowers visible on September 30, 2018.
The Sanctuary posts “Super” Ghost Orchid updates on its website (corkscrew.audubon.org) and social media.
The Sanctuary is open daily from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. with the last admission to the boardwalk at 4:30 p.m.