Monday, March 14, 2011

Eltroplectis calcarata a green and white terrestrial orchid native of Puerto Rico



Front view of the flower
The orchid in situ
Close up of the lip
Side view
Seed pod

Eltroplectis calcarata is an uncommon terrestrial orchid native of Puerto Rico.  It has a large geographical distribution that includes South America, the Greater Antilles, Grenada, Trinidad and Florida in the United States.  In Puerto Rico it has been reported from the western part of the island from low to high elevations.  I have seen this plant in Maricao and some botanist friends have told me they have seen it in Rio Abajo.
This is a small inconspicuous plant with white and green nodding flowers.  Those plants that I have found are easy to miss as they were growing under the shade of low bushes that essentially hid them from view.  The flowers are relatively large and have a vague resemblance to some members of the Coilostylis genus.  Unfortunately the nodding stance of the flowers means the flower presents its back to the viewer.
This plant has no horticultural importance and I have not seen it in cultivation anywhere.  Photos of this plant taken in Puerto Rico seem to be quite rare.  The only photo of a local plant I was able to find before I was able to take these photos were of an exceptionally poor quality and seemed to have been taken from a plant that was collected from the wild.     Since the plants I have seen were all inside state forest reserves and the plant has no commercial value there is little threat that this plant will be ever affected by collection for the plant trade.  

1 comment:

Prem Subrahmanyam said...

I have seen this species for sale from a species specialist vendor in the United States. The plants in Florida tend to nod a little bit less and are quite attractive, if still rather small.

---Prem
The Florida Native Orchid Blog