We left at 5:30am for an hour and a half drive to the Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, we arrived around 7:40am after a brief stop along I75 for some sunrise shots.
We wanted to capture the blooming Super Ghost Orchids that are located 50 feet up a huge bald Cypress tree – three-quarters of a mile out on the Corkscrew boardwalk above the swamp. There were many blooms today!
The Super Ghost Orchid is an extremely rare orchid that grows without leaves on the trunks of trees in a small concentrated area of Southwest Florida and some places in the Bahamas.
The Super Ghost Orchid was discovered in 2007 in Corkscrew and are protected by state and federal laws.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is on about 13,000 acres of land owned and protected by the National Audubon Society since 1954. The Audubon Society built a 2.25-mile boardwalk and a visitor center with a nature store, tea room and gallery.
This leafless species conducts photosynthesis through its root system. The plant requires the presence of certain type of fungus that helps the plant gather nutrients. The fungus, in turn, gets sugars from the host orchid.
The long spur arches have the tip filled with nectar for its pollinator, the Giant Sphinx Moth (Cocytius antaeus) is the only insect capable of pollinating this rare orchid, Without this Giant Sphinx Moth, the Super Ghost Orchid will not survive.
Image was taken with: Canon 7D w/400mm F/5.6L, 1.4 extender – resulting in 896mm resolution
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