Ghost Orchid Facts
- The gorgeous plant most often known by the common name of the Ghost Orchid represents a truly magnificent species of flora. However, the fabulous beauty also goes by a few other common names in parts of its native range. A few of these alternate terms include the white frog orchid and the palm polly.
- Nevertheless, this awesome flowering plant bears the somewhat cumbersome scientific name of Dendrophylax lindenii. The Belgian plant collector Jean Jules Linden became the first person to officially recognize the species. The fortuitous discovery of this lovely plant occurred in the year 1844.
- To the amazement of some individuals, given its habitat range, this plant holds a surprise. That’s the fact that it bears a close relationship to species native to lands bordering the African and Indian Oceans. This occurs because the members of its genus all evolved during the time of the supercontinent of Gondwana.
- Quite sadly, the stunning Ghost Orchid now finds itself in grave peril. This situation occurs due to a combination of factors. These include its small range and habitat loss. However, it now also faces the threat of climate change. Presently, the IUCN lists it as Endangered on its Red List of Threatened Species.
Ghost Orchid Physical Description
The truly fantastic Ghost Orchid represents one of the orchid varieties that grows as an epiphyte. That’s because it grows on the surface of another organism and receives its nourishment directly from the air and water. In addition, within its native habitat, this most commonly includes the limbs and trunks of trees. However, the Angiosperm also displays a strong preference for pop ash and pond-apple trees.
Further, this stunning species typically develops as a leafless vine. It also remains best known for the gorgeous blooms it produces. The marvelous Ghost Orchid further generally produces between 1 – 10 of these. Its blossoms also tend to open only one at at time. The flowers display a brilliant white color, and average 2.75 – 3.5 in (7 – 9 cm) in length. The same flowers also average 1.2 – 1.6 in (3 – 4 cm) in width.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Tracheophyte
- Class: Monocots
- Order: Asparagales
- Family: Orchidaceae
- Genus: Dendrophylax
- Species: D. lindenii
Ghost Orchid Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Quite unfortunately, the magnificent Ghost Orchid evolved to a natural range that poses it numerous problems. That’s because it appears in a range that’s both extremely limited and restricted. In point of fact, the Angiosperm occurs in the wild in only two small portions of the world. These isolated locations include the island of Cuba, and the state of Florida, in the United States, in North America.
However, its own nature tends to make it difficult for the beautiful plant to prosper, and even more so to spread in any numbers. That’s because the species of flora only appears naturally in very specific areas. These consists of regions consisting of damp, swampy forests. Further, the fabulous, but highly selective plant also requires the presence of specific tree species in sufficient abundance.
The breathtaking Ghost Orchid also holds yet another distinction. That holds true due to the fact that its physical nature remains extremely uncommon among Monocots. Its leaves and stem have been reduced to almost non-existence. As a result, the great majority of its mass consists of its many branching, root-like roots. Finally, it’s also pollinated almost exclusively by a variety of moths.