Encyclia plicata

Encyclia plicata (Lindl.) Schltr.

Family: Orchidaceae

Habit: Encyclia plicata 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 elongate pseudobulbs up to 7 cm in length.  From the top of the pseudobulb flattened linear leaves emerge that are up to 40 cm in length.  The pseudobulb is green but often has black spots.

The zygomorphic flowers are arranged in terminal panicles up to 70 cm in height and contain 3-10 flowers. The flowers have triangular bracts and the calyx has 3 greenish yellow sepals that turn brownish with age. The corolla has 3 petals with one forming the labellum.  The labellum is white and 3 lobed developing 3 major reddish purple lines as the flower ages.  Two smaller erect lobes of the labellum wrap around the white column. The column is formed from a fusion of the stamens and ovary into a single structure. The ovary is inferior.  The fruit is a capsule at maturity up to 4 cm in length that opens along six suture lines and hangs allowing wind to assist in seed dispersal.

Habitat: Encyclia plicata grows in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation – Forests (Coppice) and mangrove areas.

Distribution: Encyclia plicata occurs in the northern pine islands of the Lucayan Archipelago as well as Cuba.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: While there are no medicinal uses of Encyclia plicata 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.