Check Out These Pages, Too!

"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Florida Native Butterfly Orchid

Last winter my dad generously separated and pulled apart a few of his 'tree orchids' from off of his giant live oak tree to pass along to me. Butterfly orchids, Encyclia tampensis (also Epidendrum tampense) are an epiphyte so I promptly tacked them to a few of my oak trees in the front-side garden. After that I pretty much forgot about them.

A delightful addition to the garden without any special attention needed is a good plant to acquire.

A gardener always wonders if a transplant will be happy in its new home. Then we wonder if it will actually bloom or grow like it is meant to. So we do what we think the plant will like and we wait.

It seemed appropriate to site at least one 'clump' of this Florida native next to another Florida native. The Resurrection Fern, Polypodium polypodioideshas also an epiphyte, found its own home on the trunks of several of the oaks without any help from this gardener.
The fern is alive with joyful green leaves this week due to all the glorious rain it has been drinking. When it dries again the fronds will turn brown and curl back into a little shriveled place until its next rain-bath. At which time it immediately resurrects to new green life. All at the same time it multiplies and spreads itself along the length of the tree trunk. Simple and beautiful.

Green flowers are a favorite of mine and considered a bonus to this already unique addition to the garden. The delicate appearing little blooms stretch gracefully out beyond the greenery of the plant. This week they opened up from ultra-thin, wispy stems that lightly dance in the air with each breeze.

It is illegal now to harvest these beauties from the wild which is where they can be found mostly. No telling where my dad's originated. An avid outdoorsman he spends most of his days tromping around in the woods and Florida wildlife management areas. He has had his orchids for many, many years and moved them with him each time he's relocated.
I will do the same thing if I ever leave this garden. What a treasure these little jewels are to me.

Additional information on the Butterfly Orchid found on the Florida Butterfly Orchid website:
Description: Epidendrum tampense Lindley 1847; Epidendrum porphyrospilum Rchb.f 1877;
Summary: This is a rather conspicuous epiphytic plant with pseudobulbs typically an inch or less in diameter supporting one (sometimes two) slender, grass-like leaves six to twelve inches long. Roots are slender and white when dry, and can run several feet up and down the branch where the plant grows. Flower stems emerge from within the leaf axil, to bear a raceme or panicle of attractive flowers, typically fragrant in the hours around noon. The flowers are 1 to 1.5 inches across, with green sepals and petals suffused with varying amounts of red, a tri-lobed lip with two lobes on either side of the column and the third lobe fan-shaped and typically blotched with purple.
Common Name: Florida Butterfly Orchid
Habitat: Hammocks and swamps from central Florida south, most typically found on live oak trees, but can grow on cypress, pop-ash, pond-apple, palm and pine trees.Flowering season: May through July (peaking in June)


  1. Meems, they are SO lovely! We don't have epiphytes here, or if we do, I'm not aware. I love seeing the ferns growing on trees in north Florida when I visit, and now I'll look for other things as well. Your orchids are treasures. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Good morning Meems,

    I must say you have the best of both worlds. Such a pretty orchid. What little I have seen of central Florida I told my hubby that if ever we relocate I would do so there. Of course I will keep a little cottage on the island. Right now am over heating and wishing for some rain. BTW have you tried any of the preserves as yet?...please let me know what you think. Have a great Sunday!

  3. Wow! What beautiful heirlooms!!!

  4. Very special! I was just snapping photos of a California native orchid and the blooms looked similar- but this was an orchid growing in a creek. I'll post some photos soon!

  5. meems,

    you did get some great captures of these beauties. i hope they do well for you.(i am sure they will)
    it will be so nice to have them in the years to come to remind you of dad and his love of the outdoors.

  6. Wow, that is an amazing plant, and so special that it came from your Dad.

  7. Meems,

    So delicate and special! A great passalong plant form your dad, too. I've never seen one (unless it was in El Yunque rainforest in Puerto Rico as there were a number of flowers growing on the trees, but I didn't know what was what).


  8. You made that sound so easy Meems ~ just tack them up on your oak tree and you're done! What an exceptional gift your dad gave you especially now that you can't collect them from the wild anymore. They are absolutely drop-dead gorgeous!

  9. Congratulations on your first Encyclia tampensis flowers! May your plant bloom for many years to come.

    The Florida Native Orchids Website,

  10. What a treasure indeed. Not only do you have a fantastic plant growing in your garden but you have a piece of your Fathers life growing there to keep company with you when he is away. What a gorgeous plant. The resurection fern is a beauty too. I love seeing them in the wild. I have never seen the fern though. Maybe next time I am in FL I will be so lucky.

  11. Beautiful!My dad had some wild orchids in his garden too.From back in the day,when it wasn't illegal to collect them.
    And I love orchids for being the type of plant that thrives on neglect.I'm good at that.

  12. Kim,
    There are varieties of epiphytes in our Florida hammocks and oak stands that are quite fascinating. I always intend to do a post on them since I have photos of so many different ones but... one of those things I never get around to...LOL

    You have me wondering what both worlds are??? I still have a post to publish on your visit... so many things to do with so little time. I loved the preserves. A cottage on the island is a MUST if you ever move. How could you ever give that up?

    Thank you. The blooms showing up certainly makes them more beautiful to me anyway. Do you have any epiphytes on your property?

    Fern and Mossery,
    Orchids in a creek? How very interesting. I will look forward to seeing your California orchids.

    Thank you.

    So true. Fortunately I am in a similar climate as Dad so we can grow the same things... and as of now I have many things growing in my garden that he passed along.

    It is a double blessing that my dad gave it to me... I admit I think of him everytime I pass by them.

    I've not been to El Yunque but I imagine there would be some beautiful flowers growing on the trees in the rainforest. There are many varieties of our native orchids ... this one is one of the most common.

    In this case, it really was that simple. One of those times you just wait and see ... never knowing if the move would be satisfactory or the siting would be favorable. It worked this time and that means we are both happy. :-)

    Thanks so much for dropping by. I've added your blog to my sidebar.

    Yes, living plants that continuing growing are such memorials of the dear ones who passed them along. IF you ever get to Florida I hope you promise to come see MY ferns.

    Neglect. Honestly, neglect is the only thing my orchids get from me. I have no idea what to do with them otherwise. Your dad has given you someo great treasures, too.

  13. Meems, They are quite beautiful special that they came from your dad and are native plants.
    Having only seen orchids like these in green houses it would be wonderful to chance upon them in the wild. I am glad to hear that you and marmee are having a good visit.


  14. They are real beauties, Meems. You're lucky to have them. Resurrection fern is one of my favorites. I always look for them after it rains. They are truly amazing!

  15. Never tried the orchids, so pretty though. But I do live in an area now that has the wild ferns. Just love them!

  16. These natives are beautiful!
    So very nice to have a great story to go withthem.
    Your gardens are fnatastic!

  17. Hi Meems, these orchids are surely a treasure you will cherish--and I hope they'll continue to flourish in your garden! I'm amazed to learn about them having never heard of them...and to think they cling to and are nourished in this manner, through the oak tree! Lovely, just lovely;-) Jan

  18. Gail,
    It has been a crazy couple of weeks aroud here. So sorry to just be responding. I had such great intentions of posting while away at the beach but who wants to open a computer when the beach is available?
    My dad has given me some really great plants over the years and they are wonderful treasures that will live on in my garden.

    The resurrection fern is staying green these days isn't it? Such weird constant rains we are having.
    So very different from last year.

    Ferns are quite interesting, too. I have acquired a couple of other ferns here that I didn't plant. Some can be fun and some can be invasive. You have to know which ones to pull out and which ones to leave. All are pretty though.

    These orchids are actually what are referred to as "air plants" or epiphytes. It seems they are receiving nourishment from the trees but in truth they are living "on" the tree as in "attached" to it but their supply of nourishment comes from the air. I find that fascinating as well as attractive since they require little care.

  19. Spectacular!

    I'se wif' ya--Love green flowers (an' true blue wif' NO Purple)

    I was given a green daylily, green zinna seeds, a green amaryllis, the hydrangeas I want to be blue sometimes sport green heads--doan ya love these green lovelies?

    As always, it is a real treat to roam around in yore yard!

  20. Wow what beautifl flowers. I did not know these grew in live oaks but so pretty. Thanks for sharing the info with us.

  21. Will these grow on a mahogony do you think?

  22. Just this morning I discovered this wild orchid blooming in one of the live oaks near the creek. Unfortunately, it is very high up in the tree and I wasn't able to capture a good photo of a bloom. I'm so excited to find it, though.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway