ghost orchid

Wild Coco (Eulophia alta)

Part of the Florida's Native and Naturalized Orchids Website

Classification:
  Kingdom:   Plantae - Plants
    Subkingdom:   Tracheobionta - Vascular Plants
      Superdivision:   Spermatophyta - Seed plants
        Division:   Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
          Class:   Liliopsida - Monocotyledons
            Subclass:   Liliidae - Subclass containing lily and orchid relatives
              Order:   Orchidales - Orchid order
                Family:   Orchidaceae - Orchid Family
                  Subfamily:   Epidendroideae -
                    Tribe:   Cymbidieae - Cymbidium tribe.
                      Subtribe:   Eulophiinae - Eulophia and related.


Distribution Map:
Distribution map for Wild Coco (Eulophia alta)
Description:
Summary: Tall terrestrials with heavily veined (plicate) almost papery leaves, often resembling a palm seedling. Flower spikes to 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall bearing up to 40 large flowers (each about 2 inches - 5cm - tall). Sepals typically a green to brown, spreading above the tubular lip, which is pink-to-red and covered with fine calluses.

Common Name: Wild Coco

Habitat: Moist, open areas, edges of forests.

Flowering season: August through December (peaking in October)

Images:
 
Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) - Plant in bloom.
Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) - Plant in bloom.
Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) - Flower Closeup
Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) - Flower Closeup
Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) Flower Spike
Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) Flower Spike
Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) Flowers
Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) Flowers
Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) Flower
Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) Flower
Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) Flower
Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) Flower

Description:
 

This orchid species is still relatively common from the central part of the state southward (but most especially in the southern part of the state), where it thrives in open, moist situations. Once common on roadsides as well, it has become less so due to wanton spraying of herbicides on roadways by local and state governments in an effort to make roadsides green and boring like a lawn, as opposed to having any splash of native color from the many wildflowers that could grow there. Or, to add insult to injury, flowers native to Texas will be planted there, to add "wildflowers" back to this environment.

This species is also known from parts of Africa, and it is theorized that seeds were transported here many centuries ago via hurricanes, where they took root in the fertile soils of the new world.

Plants bear some resemblance to palm seedlings, with their wide, heavily veined leaves. When a plant is so inclined (which does not always happen), a rather impressive flower spike, at up to 4 feet (1.2 meters), will emerge in the summer through fall and bear 20 to 40 gaudy flowers with red-pink, tubular calyxes and green-brown sepals outspread above them.

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