Carlton Ward Jr

1 weeks ago

Chasing Ghosts [5 of 9] > Ghost orchid blooms. Ephemeral white flowers that sometimes emerge during the summer from rare leafless ghost orchids hanging from trees above water in the deepest corners of South Florida swamps. These flowers, and the magical places where they live, have been the focus of my obsession for the past three years. @macstonephoto @peter_houlihan and I joined forces last summer in our converging quests to try to solve one of the greatest mysteries of the Evergaldes — what pollinates the ghost orchid? Look at the bloom on the left and take note of the long the tubelike structure dangling down and right from the back of the flower. This is the nectar spur. It contains the sweet liquid that lures a moth to bury its head into the flower cup and reach its tongue called a proboscis as deep as possible into the spur to reach the most nectar. The ghost orchid nectar spur is long, suggesting that the the moth species that pollinates it would have a proboscis that is equally long. The giant sphinx moth has the longest proboscis is all South Florida moths leading to the widely held theory that it is the sole pollinator of the ghost orchid. But there is no visual evidence to validate this claim. Using camera traps and lots of patience, we set out to try and capture the first-ever photographs of pollination. What species of creatures are we to keep coming back to these orchids summer after summer? This is a question for another time and place. Whether a rare or common species, I know I’m not alone in being enchanted and possibly controlled by these mesmerizing flowers that embody so much history, controversy, mystique and undeniable splendor of Florida at its wildest heart. Please continue to follow this journey as it unfolds in the coming days. #chasingghosts #pathofthepanther @fl_wildcorridor @insidenatgeo @natgeoimagecollection @ilcp_photographers #floridawild #KeepFLWild #ghostorchid

43 Comments

footTRAX

Chris Little captured one on video years ago. https://youtu.be/ca--GgEe2Zg

2 weeks ago

Susi Richardson

So incredibly cool!!!

2 weeks ago

DJ Chill Will

Got to love the ghost orchids. Would appreciate your response to my DM when you get a chance.

2 weeks ago

Linda King

Outstanding

2 weeks ago

2 weeks ago

Ashleigh Ozment

That bokeh is delicious with that delicate orchid in the foreground. Beautiful, Carlton!

2 weeks ago

Sameer Karkal

Fabulous flora species 🙌

2 weeks ago

Toni Haskell-Petrie

Amazing~~you guys rock!!

2 weeks ago

Mark Ward

What other types of orchids grow naturally in Florida ? Is it possible to cultivate these orchids my mother has an orchid garden but I don’t think she has these

2 weeks ago

Marianela Carballo Rios

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

2 weeks ago

tamrehughes

They’re such beautiful mysterious flower

2 weeks ago

Meshael❤️

😍😍

2 weeks ago

Sand Artist Lawrence Koh

Marvellous 👍👍👍👍👍

2 weeks ago

Oscar

Super, thank you for explaining. Love to see one some day.

2 weeks ago

oksun Renninger

So beautiful💕

5 days ago

PRA

Fantastic and congratulations on solving the mystery in a most unexpected way! Who knew?

2 weeks ago

Beautiful photo

2 weeks ago

Call me "pOr"

💚💚💚

2 weeks ago

Blake J.

This is great! Are they all leafless? I’m gonna have to research the ghost orchid

2 weeks ago

Matic Suc

👍

2 weeks ago

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