August 30, 2007
THE COMPULSIVE GAMBLER OF THE PLANT WORLD
What is so rare about the ghost orchid is that it exists at all because it is dependent upon the giant Sphinx moth that flies only at night to pollinate it. As if that wasn't enough, its seed needs a specific strain of beneficial fungus to survive and if there's not sufficient peat to feed its host, the Cypress, it will likely perish. There's more. It must get enough water to saturate the air and prevent temperature swings. All this for an irregular and infrequent bloom . What odds if you were a gambler.
Fewer than 1,000 of the species remain and only in Southwest Florida and Cuba. Now that the location is known I would venture to guess that orchid enthusiasts will be visiting the site with bags and baskets in hand.