Orchids are known for being beautiful flowers, however, when you see a ghost orchids flowers up close you may be surprised.
The ghost orchids flowers are rather delicate and fragile. The ghost orchids flowers are always anchored to trees, this is because it is an epiphyte and therefore it needs the trees to supply the necessary nutrients for survival. This is a fight for survival, which without help the ghost orchid may loose.
Ghost orchids flowers are happiest in humid, moist swamp environments and is therefore found in areas in Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas.
Ghost orchids flowers are not at the end of long stems like many others within the orchid species, but the plants are mostly roots, which attached around the tree trunks to get moisture. The roots of the ghost orchids flowers are flat and the outer layer, a velamen layer, is where the nutrients are absorbed.
Protruding from the roots are spikes which hold the ghost orchids flowers. These delicate flowers are white and appear during the summer months of June until August. The lack of stem make it look as if the ghost orchids flowers are floating, hence the spectre based name.
Ghost orchids flowers are rare and therefore valuable for this reason, rather than their beauty. The ghost orchids flowers are now sufficiently rare that the flower has been categorized as endangered.
In some areas in the United States the ghost orchids flowers are protected by law and if you are caught picking one, even if you try to claim that it is for removal to a suitable environment for protection, you can be punished under both state and federal law. The ghost orchids flowers need this level of protection as they are exceptionally difficult to grow outside their natural environment.
Pollination of the ghost orchids flowers can only successfully happen with the help of one insect known to man, this is a moth, the giant sphinx moth, this moth is successful where others fail due to the long proboscis which can reach far enough into the flower to reach the pollen.
All these factors lead to a flower which is in great demand. There are many dealers who will trade in illegal flowers just as there are many collectors out there who will buy these flowers given half a chance!
If you want to see the ghost orchids flowers for yourself, one of the best locations at the moment is in the Florida Everglades. There have been recent sightings of the ghost orchid here and as long as the environment remains suitable there is no reason to assume that they will not continue to grow in this location.
Obviously if you are lucky enough to find a ghost orchid flower then you should record the location and advise the governing bodies.