An Orchid with a Witchy Name

I couldn’t end October without posting something referring to Halloween, and I think this Hairy Shadow Witch (Ponthieva racemosa) fits perfectly.

There are 25 species of these orchids, and only one species, the Hairy Shadow Witch (Ponthieva racemosa), is found in Florida. The first species documented in Florida was in Polk County on December 20, 1955. 

Hairy Shadow Witch photos by Alice Mary Herden

These fascinating and intriguing orchids conveniently thrive in those moist and shaded habitats like swamps. A perfect location if you were a mythical witch spending time lurking in the shadows gathering insects and mushrooms to brew for your stew. 

There is some basic information about this orchid I found researching on the internet; however, I haven’t found the answers to my curious questions. Within the next couple of months, they will be in their blooming season. I hope to explore this Hairy Shadow Witch further during that time.

Have a great weekend!


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