Rare orchid in bloom at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Posted at 9:39 AM, Jul 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-15 09:39:06-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- Nature lovers visiting Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Naples are being treated to a show by one of the most acclaimed orchids around.

The sanctuary's treasured "super" ghost orchid is now in bloom near the park's boardwalk, displaying four blossoms.

This special orchid is growing on an old-growth cypress tree, about 50 feet off the ground and 100 feet away from the boardwalk.  Visitors need to walk less than a mile from the entrance to see the blossoms, which are best viewed with binoculars or spotting scopes.

“People are fascinated by orchids, and the ghost orchid is one of the rarest specimens,” said Jason Lauritsen, director of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. “The appeal of the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary ghost orchid is that it is visible from our public boardwalk, and this particular plant has a history of displaying multiple flowers at once and blooming multiple times in succession, which gives people more of a chance to get to Naples and see it.”

Ghost orchids are found only in swampy regions of southwest Florida and the Caribbean.

The plant played a key role in the non-Fiction book "The Orchid Thief" by Susan Orlean, and inspired the novel "Ghost Orchid" by D.K. Christi.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is located northeast of Naples, 15 miles off I-75.