Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
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POTTS' PLUME ORCHID
Synonym: Eulophia ecristata
Endemic to Florida
This terrestrial orchid was originally described from a single location, becoming the second species of this genus to occur in the United States. Pteroglossaspis pottsii is shorter and has smaller flowers than P. ecristata, and seems to prefer a slightly higher and dryer habitat than the wider ranging species.
The dusty rose colored flowers are in a terminal raceme, twisted around the upper part of the scape. Most flowers do not appear to fully open. The fruit is a five-ribbed ovate capsule. Plants are 60-80 cm (24-31.5 in.) tall with acuminate leaves 30-50 cm (12-20 in.) long and 1-1.5 cm (0.4-0.6 in.) wide. Flowers number from 6-29 and appear from late July through October.
Some experts consider this to be the same species as P. ecristata. Others consider all of the Pteroglossaspis members of the genus Eulophia. Reports of this species occurring elsewhere, such as near Folkston, Georgia and in the Francis Marion National Forest of South Carolina are likely P. ecristata forma purpurea, the purple form of giant orchid.