Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the March 20, 2011 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO

For months I've awaited the flowering of a certain colony of orchids growing ten feet up the trunk of a giant Piich tree near the hut. The orchids look like a big clump of grass sprouting from the tree, and this week they're flowering, as you can see below:

Thread-stemmed Encyclia, ENCYCLIA NEMATOCAULON

The white flowers are small, only about 1-¼ inches long (3cm). Still, they display a typical orchid shape, with a frilly lip serving admirably as a landing pad for visiting pollinators, as you can see in a shot taken from above a flower below:


This is ENCYCLIA NEMATOCAULON, sometimes known as the Thread-stemmed Encyclia. It's native from Mexico to Nicaragua, and Cuba, specializing in growing on trees in lowland scrub and tropical deciduous forest, like ours.