Oil on Canvas, 36" x 20", 2006
Orchid: Prosthechea cochleata
Native Range: USA (Southern Florida), Caribbean, Central America
Pollinator: Hummingbirds and Wasps
Conservation Status: Endangered
“National flower of Belize and often called the “Cockleshell Orchid”, Prosthechea (syn. Encyclia) cochleata is native to southern Florida, the Caribbean and Central America.
Long known in the botanical world, the species was first described as Helleborine cochleato flore in 1703. Endangered in Florida, this showy orchid is usually found there on trees dancing a meter or two above the high-water mark in a swamp where there is always standing water.
The water of the swamp provides thermal mass to protect this and other delicate orchids from cold weather that occasionally strikes southern Florida. Flowering occurs almost throughout the year; individual flowers being produced sequentially.
This species, while slow growing, is extremely adaptable and easy to grow as a houseplant.”