Saturday, December 7, 2013

Epidendrum nocturnum Jacquin 1760, at low elevations near El Yunque

I found this plant growing in a tree trunk near the roadside.  At first sight it would appear that this plant holds the promise of a fairly large flower given its size, but sadly this is not the case.  I have seen many plants of Epidendrum nocturnum in El Yunque but none with open flowers.  All that I have found with flowers buds appear to be cleistogamic, that is, the flower self pollinizes without opening.   I hope someday I will be able to find one with fully open flowers.  Some people might confuse this species with Epidendrum angustilobum whose flowers are fully open and look almost identical with those of nocturnum, however the plant form is utterly different from nocturnum.   Epi, nocturnum is fairly common in certain areas of El Yunque forest, the fact that is can be found even in places were significant numbers of hikers and tourists pass by is a clear indication that these plants are not producing flowers that would attract the attention of plant collectors.

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