The Mysterious Ghost Orchid is a perennial leafless plant. It has a unique structure and exudes an extraordinary aroma.
It is characterized by strong grey-green roots that look like a giant web, from which white flowers suddenly peep out. The biological structure of the roots of the plant is similar to the foliage, so the flower feels great without it.
You can find an orchid on the crowns of vertically growing trees, for example, such as ash or cypress. The root system absorbs oxygen, nutrients and moisture both from the crown of the tree and from the air.
According to the description of the ghost orchid, its roots can reach up to 50 cm in length and 5 mm in thickness, which ensures their full functioning for the life support of the plant. An interesting fact is the appearance of small leaves at an early stage of orchid development, which disappear forever with its growth.
The "ghost" orchid flower has a pleasant delicate aroma, grace and special elegance. Visually it seemsquite large, especially in comparison with the dimensions of the whole plant.
The flower itself has a unique structure. It consists of white petals, two of which differ in their length and shape. They hang down and resemble the legs of a frog. For this structural feature, the plant received a second name - the frog orchid.
Until recently, it was believed that the "ghost" is not only very rare, but even extinct. At one time, the flower was destroyed by poachers. Another reason for its extinction is considered to be a change in climatic conditions.
In fact, scientists have found a way to cultivate a unique flower. In nature, such a miracle can be found in the tropics, in swampy areas. Its distribution area is:
- Florida forests;
It is not easy to meet an orchid in nature. The thing is that it grows in hard-to-reach places where it is difficult for a person to reach.
The plant got its name for its unusual appearance. Its roots merge with flowering arrows, so the flowers seem to appear out of nowhere. Blossoming "in the air", they hang in a chaotic manner, like ghosts.
Features of cultivation
A ghost orchid can be grown at home, but an unusual flower requires a special approach. The main task before planting is not to damage the root system when removing the plant from the crown of the tree.
Before planting a natural specimen, it is necessary to prepare for it a habitat that is closest to its native one. To plant an orchid, a spacious terrarium is required, in which the following soil mixture should be placed:
- sphagnum moss;
On the resulting mixture it is necessary to place the root system of the plant. Further cultivation of the "ghost" depends on proper, competent care.
As for care, the "ghost" orchid requires compliance with temperature and humidity, and prevention from pests and diseases is also necessary. Optimal growing conditions suggest:
- regular airing of the terrarium;
- humidity 80%;
- providing the flower with diffused light;
- temperature during the day - 30-33 degrees, 20-23 - at night.
In early spring and late autumn, the plant begins a dormant period. At this time, the flower needs to create a certain temperature regime: during the day - 25-26 degrees, at night - 12-13.
Like other types of orchid, the "ghost" reproduces by seed.
Seeds are microscopic in size. There can be several thousand of them in one box. They mature within a year. Unfortunately, only a few have the opportunity to get on the crown of a tree or into the soil. That is why the plant is in the ranks of those on the verge of extinction.
Scientists are constantly working on breeding the "ghost", but have not yet found a way to extend its life at home. The lifespan of a flower in captivity is only 1 year. However, if a home flower is returned to its habitat, it can bloom and grow for another decade.
Features of flowering
The "ghost" blooms only when its root system is sufficiently branched. This usually takes several years.
Orchid flowers have a pleasant apple-fruity aroma. The plant is very fond of pollinating insects.
The "ghost" begins to bloom only after several years after its seed enters the crown of the tree. At the beginning of spring or towards the end of winter, stems of small length grow from the root system, from which flower stalks appear, more like a hard wire. In length, they can reach up to 25 cm.
In total, up to 10 peduncles appear on one plant, each of which has a single flower of extraordinary beauty.
Under the weight of the flowers, which usually bloom at the same time, the flower stalks bend gracefully, and the plant looks stunningly spectacular.
The flowering time of the "ghost" falls on the period June-August. Flowering time - 3 weeks. The life of the plant at home is small, only 1 year. In nature, an orchid can live for several decades.
Probably the most interesting fact: the ghost orchid has absolutely no leaves. Longfor a time it was believed that this flower leads a parasitic lifestyle, but scientists involved in the study of the "ghost" have refuted this.
The root system does not grow into the crown of the tree, with the exception of a single branch of the root, which attaches the plant to the trunk. The rest, as it were, braid it or a branch.
Nutrients "ghost" takes from the air and rainwater. Unusual flowers bloom only in favorable weather for them. Their representatives can grow in one area for several decades.
Blossoming flowers during flowering can change their white color to pale green. At this time, due to their structure, they become like a frog.
Perhaps in the near future, the "ghost" orchid will appear in temperate zones. In the native forests of Florida, she settled in, and there is an opportunity to save her from extinction.
By the way, today the plant can be seen in Naples in the botanical forest.