Two species of ‘shootless’ orchids from Florida, Dendrophylax lindenii and D. porrectus. These intriguing epiphytes lack fully-developed leaves, and instead use their pale-green roots to photosynthesise.
Dendrophylax lindenii is more commonly known as the “ghost orchid.” Yep, the one so coveted in Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief, which was later made into the film Adaptation with Nicolas Cage. And how many orchids can we directly attach to Nick, really?
It’s not only endangered and protected in Florida, but notoriously finicky. Its growth habit is such that removing it from the wild usually results in the plant’s death, and trying to cultivate it in a controlled environment is a tall, tall order in most instances. —MN