Epidendrum rigidum

Epidendrum rigidum Jacq.

Common Names: Stiff Flower Star Orchid

Family: Orchidaceae

Habit: Epidendrum rigidum grows as an epiphyte. It produces a very rhizomatous stem that is covered with erect secondary stems to 20 cm in height. The 2-ranked leaves are arranged alternately on the secondary stem, stiff, linear, to 5 cm in length and 2 cm wide, with an entire margin.

The complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers are arranged in terminal, few flowered, short racemes. Flowers are produced in summer and fall.  The calyx has 3 partially fused, rigged, green, slightly succulent sepals; 2 lateral and 1 below. There are 3 partially fused, greenish, rigged, slightly succulent petals. The labellum is fused, green, 3 lobed, and attached to a very short column foot. The column is green, short, up to 3 mm in length.  The ovary is inferior and the fruit is an erect capsule at maturity up to 4 mm in length.

Habitat: Epidendrum rigidum grows on branches as an epiphyte in Mangroves and extremely wet Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation – Forests (coppice) areas over sinkholes.

Distribution: Epidendrum rigidum occurs on the northern island groupings of the Lucayan Archipelago, the Caribbean, Florida, Central and South America.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: While there are no medicinal uses of Epidendrum rigidum 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.