University of Florida

Sacoila lanceolata (Aublet) Garay var. lanceolata

Leafless Beaked Orchid

The leafless beaked orchid is a interesting plant since it flowers with no leaves in its natural habitat. This species has a wide distribution from north Florida to northern Uruguay. The plants commonly inhabit roadsides and less frequently in pine flatwoods and old fields. It is easy to identify this orchid during flowering time (April-June) when driving on several of Florida's highways and interstates. Due to its preferred habitat of busy highways, the plant is listed as threatened in Florida. Populations can be quite large with 200-400 plants, maybe more. The plants are tall, generally 20-60 cm, and have approximately 20-30 crimson red-white flowers. This variety of S. lanceolata has two color forms in Florida: forma albidaviridis the green-white flowered form, and forma folsomii the golden flowered form.

Sacoila lanceolata var. lanceolata
Sacoila lanceolata var. lanceolata up-close inflorescence (left) and whole plant (right).
Notice the difference in plant height on the right as well as the absence of leaves. Also note the hints of white in the individual flowers. Photographs taken by Philip Kauth.