Encyclia rufa

Encyclia rufa (Lindl.) Britton & Millsp.

Common Names: Butterfly Orchid, Rufous Orchid

Family: Orchidaceae

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 long.

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 complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers have bracts. 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 3 lobed, starts greenish yellow but develops reddish purple lines as the flower ages.  The 2 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 grows in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations – Forests/Shrublands and Palm Woodlands (coppice).

Distribution: Encyclia rufa occurs on all islands in the Lucayan 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.