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Rare Ghost Sighting


Grab your binoculars and head to Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary for a rare “Super” Ghost Orchid sighting!

The ghost orchid is one of the rarest flowers in North America.  It relies on extremely sensitive, wetland habitats, and is known to live only in southern Florida and Cuba.

Discovered in July 2007, the Corkscrew “Super” ghost orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii) has drawn attention from around the world as it is the largest ghost orchid discovered to date.

Ghost orchids are “epiphytes” — plants that cling to the surface of certain species of tree trunks and limbs.  Ghost orchids have no actual leaves and throughout much of the year, the plants are barely visible.

As soon as summer rains and humidity return, however, ghost orchids spring to life, producing multiple spikes, buds, and blossoms.

The blooms should be visible through October.  For those who’d like to see the “Super” ghost orchid in person, head to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, located in the Everglades, about an hour and a half drive from Ocean’s Reach.

Visitors will find the orchid located about 70 feet off the ground on a bald cypress tree roughly 100 feet from the boardwalk.  In order to see the blooms, orchid enthusiasts are encouraged to bring a spotting scope or binoculars.  (For photography buffs, they recommend a lens length of 600 mm.)  

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary features 2.25 miles of boardwalk through ancient forest, marsh, and upland habitats.  It spans more than 13,000 acres, including the largest remaining, old-growth bald cypress forest.

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Fun Fact:  The ghost orchid became popularized in Susan Orlean’s 1998 nonfiction book “The Orchid Thief.”  A 2002 movie, “Adaptation,” was based loosely on the book and starred Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper, the latter of whom won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

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