A rare native orchid found mostly in the Florida Everglades. Growing as both an epiphyte and terrestrial on rotting tree trunks, this large and colorful orchid has been poached almost to extinction.
Beeswarm orchids are also called Cow-Horn Orchids, since the pseudobulbs are tall and spindle shaped, often with a curve in them. Once common in untouched fire-climax savannah ecologies, this orchid is the largest Florida native orchid and is a favorite of orchid collectors. Hard to transplant from the wild and fickle in propagation by seed or tissue culture, the species remains rare and highly desired. The plant’s requirement for a protracted dry period while leafless is now at odds with local climate change which often shows heavy rain and high temperatures in the plant’s dormant period. This conflict is furthering the plant’s decline since the plants will rot in the off-season rains.
Buying cultivated plants from a nursery helps to reduce the interest for plant collectors to harvest wild-collected plants to fill the demand. Tissue cultured plants are often the only option for buying endangered species, and the propagation tactic ensures that wild-collected plants were not harvested.
South Florida Everglades, mostly in sunny open savannah and short mixed hardwood forest