A rare and endangered orchid has flowered in the UK for the first time. Dendrophylax lindenii, known as the Florida Ghost Orchid in the US and Cuba, has blossomed at Kew Gardens.
The bud was flown to the UK from Chicago three weeks ago to be shown at Chelsea Flower Show. The rare beauty, a spindly white and green flower, gets its name from its ghostly appearance: the roots of the orchid are so well hidden that the flower often appears as if floating in mid-air.
Liking a humid climate, these flowers can mostly be found in Florida and Cuba. According to experts, there are only about 1,500 ghost orchid plants left in south Florida and 500 in Cuba. The plant in question was first germinated at the University of Florida in 2014, before it was donated to Chicago Botanic Garden.
The flower was donated to Kew after being displayed in the flower show. If you want to see the rare plant, it’s on display in a terrarium in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. But you might want to be quick as they only flower for roughly one and a half to two weeks.
Prof Mike Fay, senior research leader at Kew, called the UK flowering a ‘positive conservation story’.
He said: ‘This is a wonderful example of a successful collaborative conservation project, with several universities and botanic gardens in the USA working together for the greater good, highlighting the importance of orchid conservation around the world.’
London is opening loads of secret gardens to the public this summer.