Common Name: Rufous Orchid, Butterfly
Habit: Encyclia rufa grow
as an epiphyte or among leaf detritus and rocks. It produces a very
short rhizomatous stem that is covered with secondary stems that are
expanded to form ovate pseudobulbs up to 12 cm long. From the top of
the pseudobulb flattened linear leaves emerge that are up to 40 cm
The inflorescences are terminal
panicles up to 90 cm long and contain 50-60 flowers that are produced
in the spring between April and June. The flowers have bracts and the
calyx has three greenish yellow sepals that turn brownish with age.
The corolla has three petals with one forming the labellum. The
labellum is three lobed, starts greenish yellow but develops reddish
purple lines as the flower ages. Two lobes of the labellum wrap
around the greenish yellow column. The column is formed from a fusion
of the stamens and ovary into a single structure. The fruit is a
capsule up to four cm long that opens along six suture lines and
hangs allowing wind to assist in seed dispersal.
Habitat: Encyclia rufa
occurs in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations (Coppice) that have a
mixture of species or are palm dominated.
Distribution in Bahamas/Globally:
Encyclia rufa occurs on all islands in the Bahamian
Archipelago as well as Florida and Cuba.
Cultural usage/Economic usage
While there are no medicinal uses of
Encyclia rufa like all orchids they are prized for their
beautiful flowers. ALL orchids are protected internationally by the
Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES)
and should not be collected from the wild.