Ponthieva brittoniae

Ponthieva brittoniae Ames

Common Names: Mrs. Britton’s Shadow Witch

Family: Orchidaceae

Habit: Ponthieva brittoniae grow terrestrially in leaf detritus and soil with fleshy pubescent roots.  Up to 50 cm in height when in flower. Leaves arranged in a basal rosette, obovate to orbicular, to 14 cm in length, with an entire margin and an acute leaf apex.

The complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers are arranged in terminal racemes up to 50 cm in height and contain up to 45 flowers. Flowers and rachis glandular. The calyx has 3 green, reflexed sepals. The corolla has 3 petals with the center petal forming the labellum.  Two petals are green and the labellum is white with green spots. Two lobes of the labellum wrap around the greenish 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.

Habitat: Ponthieva brittoniae occurs in the understory of Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations – Forests (coppice).

Distribution: Ponthieva brittoniae occurs in the Lucayan Archipelago on Andros and New Providence as well as in Cuba, Hispaniola and Florida.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: While there are no medicinal uses of Ponthieva brittoniae 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