Audubon Florida News

Press Release: Rare Ghost Orchid Blooms at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

posted on August 10, 2012 in Corkscrew Swamp

Media Contact: Beth Preddy

Preddy PR, 239-435-3938

beth@preddypr.com

Rare Ghost Orchid Blooms at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Naples, Fla. (August 3, 2012) – Five flowers and one bud have bloomed on the rare ghost orchid at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, growing on an ancient bald cypress tree in Corkscrew’s old growth forest. The “Super Ghost” is 50 feet high on the tree, and can be seen from Corkscrew’s boardwalk using binoculars or a spotting scope. To see the orchid, visitors walk less than one mile from the entrance to interpretive sign number-seven. Area biologists have nicknamed this specimen the “Super Ghost” since ghost orchids might have between one and three blossoms per year, if they bloom at all.  Binocular rentals are available at the admissions desk. Serious photographers should bring powerful telephoto lenses.

Corkscrew’s staff is on “orchid watch” and updates the Sanctuary website and Facebook page on a regular basis with ghost orchid news. See http://corkscrew.audubon.org/corkscrew-ghost-orchid.

The ghost orchid, preyed upon by poachers, was the subject of bestselling author Susan Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief and the subsequent movie Adaptation.

“People are fascinated by orchids, and the ghost orchid is one of the rarest specimens,” said Jason Lauritsen, executive director of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. “The appeal of the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary ghost orchid is that it is visible from our public boardwalk, and this particular plant has a history of displaying multiple flowers at once and blooming multiple times in succession, which gives people more of a chance to get to Naples and see it.”

The ghost orchid (Polyrrhiza lindenii) is an extremely rare, epiphytic orchid that grows without leaves on the trunks of trees in a small concentrated area of Southwest Florida. The plants are usually only visible to intrepid adventurers who must hike through hip deep water in the area’s cypress, pop ash and pond apple sloughs to reach them.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a legendary Audubon preserve located in the heart of the western Everglades, and the premier outdoor environmental education center in Southwest Florida. It is located just northeast of Naples, 15 miles from I-75 on Immokalee Road (Exit 111). Hours are 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. until September 30 with the last guests admitted by 6:30 pm each day. Cost: Adults, $10; full-time college student with photo ID, $6; National Audubon Society member with ID card, $5; student (6-18 years old), $4; children younger than 6, free. Visitors are advised to call the Sanctuary at 239-348-9151 for daily updates on the flower’s status.

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