Orchid of the Week: Hexalectris spicata

Whoops! I skipped my Orchid of the Week post yesterday, so here it is: the Hexalectris spicata. I chose this little orchid because I have a friend visiting from North Carolina this weekend; the plant is native to that state, among others. Hexalectris (which kinda sounds like a superhero, no?) is part of the Epidendroidae subfamily:

Photo credit: ncwildflower.org

Its common name is the Crested Coralroot Orchid and it is fairly rare in the state of North Carolina due to destruction of habitat.  🙁 Here are a couple pics of the orchid in the wild:

Photo credit: rockbridgelaboratoryservices.com
Photo credit: Premorchid, Flickr

I love this orchid’s pretty little striped blooms:

Photo credit: hort.ifas.ufl.edu

This orchid is “myco-heterotrophic,” meaning that it gets nutrition by parasitizing fungi rather than via photosynthesis—you can see in the photos above that this plant has no leaves, so it lacks chlorophyll. Another very cool example of the massive variety within the orchid family!

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1 comment

  1. Wow, that is pretty cool. I was gonna ask what the leaves looks like, but I guess it doesn’t have them. Thanks for introducing me to the word “parasitizing,” as well. 🙂

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