Index- plants in this Family
Orchidaceae / Orchid
Clamshell Orchid (Encyclia cochleata)
Clamshell Orchid is also known as Epidendrum cochleatum, Anacheilium cochleatum, Prosthechea cochleata and Florida Cockleshell Orchid.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 61cm in height (24inches). Epiphytic with a green pseudobulb.
Leaves: This plant has basal leaves only. Leaves can reach 30cm in length (12inches). Leaves can be as wide as 2.5 cm (1inches). Each leaf is entire.
Flowers: The flowers are irregular in shape . They are purple with dark lines radiating from a light green center sometimes yellow or whitish. Blooms can appear all year but are most likely from mid fall to mid spring. The lip is uppermost and is very like half a clamshell. The two other petals and three sepals are long and narrow and twisted, yellow or light green.
Habitat: Epiphytic and in this country only found in swamps and hammocks.
Range: Know only from southern Florida in the U. S., also from Mexico, the West Indies and South and Central America.

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Endangered in Florida this showy orchid is usually found there on trees a meter or two above the high water mark in a swamp where there is always standing water. The Florida species are of a variation know as triandra which refers to the three anthers. Species in other areas normally have but one. This has lead some to conclude that the plants in Florida are all descended from a single plant. One of the tiny orchid seeds may have been transported from more tropical regions by a bird or a storm. The water of the swamp provides thermal mass to protect this and other delicate orchids from the cold weather that occasionally strikes southern Florida.

See the links below this image for other images. (3)
© Daniel Reed   E-mail      Image use policy

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Clamshell Orchid (Encyclia cochleata) - habit  © Daniel Reed
Clamshell Orchid  © Daniel Reed
Paul Rebmann in Fakahatchee Strand  © Daniel Reed
Paul photographs an orchid while standing in knee deep water of the Fakahatchee.

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Monocots / One Seed Leaf


Butterfly Orchid

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