University of Florida

Scott L. Stewart: Research

Habenaria distans Grisebach

False Water-Spider Orchis

The false water-spider orchis is one of the rarest orchids in North America, and one of our most truly tropical terrestrial species. Restricted to only a few sites in Collier County, Florida, Habenaria distans prefers rich, moist tropical hammocks that are occasionally inundated. Dominant canopy trees tend to be Bursera simaruba, Sabal palmetto, various Quercus species, and Roystonea elata. The species flowers from late-August into late-October, although the majority of plants tend to flower in mid-September. Research on this species is being carried out in conjunction with Florida Division of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Partial funding has been provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the San Diego County Orchid Society.

Habenaria distans
Habenaria distans in the wild -- entire plant (far left), inflorescence (center), basal rosette (far right).
Photos courtesy of P.M. Brown.

Habenaria distans individual flower
Habenaria distans individual flower.