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Rare Ghost Orchid Blooms at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Fla.
June 25, 2008
A rare ghost orchid blooms for the second consecutive summer at Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples. Visitors should have through mid-July to see the orchid bloom. There are many special hotel rates and deals for ghost orchid enthusiasts listed at www.paradisecoast.com/ghostorchid
JoNell Modys, CVB, email@example.com, 239-252-2425
Timothy Grand, Audubon of Florida, firstname.lastname@example.org, 305-432-4646
Maria Sabale, BCF, email@example.com, 757-497-4811
(June 25, 2008) – A rare ghost orchid growing on an ancient bald cypress tree at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Naples is in bloom for the second consecutive summer, this time with seven buds that will likely produce blooms visible from the Audubon sanctuary’s boardwalk for the next three weeks.
The plant bloomed three times in the summer of 2007, the first time with 12 blossoms, the second time with 10 and the third time with three. Area biologists have nicknamed this specimen the super ghost, since typically ghost orchids might have between one and three blossoms per year, if they bloom at all.
—We’ve been watching the plant closely to see if it would produce another round of multiple blossoms this year, and we are excited to see that it is ready to perform again,” said Ed Carlson, executive director of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. —We have one blossom visible now with two more buds that should open within the week, then four more buds that still need to mature.”
The ghost orchid (Polyrrhiza lindenii) is an extremely rare, epiphytic orchid that grows without leaves on the trunks of trees in a small concentrated area of Southwest Florida. The plants are usually only visible to intrepid adventurers who must hike through hip deep water in the area’s bald cypress, pop ash and pond apple sloughs to reach them.
The ghost orchid, preyed upon by poachers, was the subject of bestselling author Susan Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief and the subsequent movie Adaptation.
Orchid lovers have a window of up to three weeks to catch this ghost orchid bloom. Visitation to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, the last remaining virgin old growth bald cypress forest in the United States, spiked during the bloom events in the summer of 2007, with orchid lovers coming from across the country. Visitors to the sanctuary will find spotting scopes for easy close-up views set up along the sanctuary’s boardwalk. Serious photographers should bring long lenses, as the plant is growing at a height of about 45 feet on the trunk of a bald cypress tree located 150 feet from the boardwalk.
For those interested in coming to see the ghost orchid, the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau has compiled a list of the many Naples area hotels that are offering special rates and packages especially for ghost orchid enthusiasts. To view the list of hotel deals visit www.paradisecoast.com/ghostorchid
or call 1-800-688-3600 for more information.
Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is located just northeast of Naples, 15 miles from I-75 on Immokalee Road. Hours are 7 am to 7:30 pm until September 30 with the last guests admitted by 6:30 pm each day. Cost: Adults, $10; full-time college student with photo ID, $6; National Audubon Society member with ID card, $5; student (6-18 years old), $4; children younger than 6, free. Visitors are advised to call the sanctuary at 239-348-9151 for daily updates on the flower’s status.
The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors bureau promotes Southwest Florida’s Paradise Coast as a visitor destination and is the official destination marketing agency for Collier County, Florida. For more information visit www.ParadiseCoast.com or call 1-800-688-3600 for a free visitors guide.