Bob Printz, left, and Dr. Jan Abernathy climb high ladders to tie orchids onto the trees at the zoo.

Over the past several years, NOS has been using orchid plants which are viable but not particularly outstanding to naturalize in trees at the Naples Zoo, the Garden of Hope and Courage at the Naples campus of the Naples Community Hospital and several local hospices.

When fastened on to rough-barked trees with a padding of sphagnum moss and tied with stretchable nylon panty hose strips, these plants will usually grow roots onto the tree and partake of the rain water, condensation and natural fertilizer from birds, organic detritus, frogs and lizards that also inhabit the area.

NOS has been aided in this project by contributions from members, landscapers and commercial growers who have donated orchids that are too large or that would take more work to bring to competition level. We are grateful to the volunteers who have worked on this project.


Illinois State Academy of Science
ELLEN N. RADCLIFFE , KELLEY M. BISHOP, LAURA L. COREY, LAWRENCE W. ZETTLER. Orchid Recovery Program, Illinois College, USA. 2015. Mycorrhizal fungi from mature epiphytic orchids and seedlings native to south Florida, and a technique for pinpointing pelotons in roots.
During the past two decades, a growing number of reports have surfaced worldwide that describe orchid mycorrhizal fungi associated with epiphytic orchids in Asia ( e.g ., China, India, Thailand), South America ( e.g ., Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador), and more recently Africa ( e.g ., Madagascar). It now appears that mature epiphytic orchids may utilize mycorrhizal fungi to a greater extent than previously assumed, not just early seedling stages. Research in the Florida Panther NWR during the past 10 years has contributed to this greater understanding, but gaps of knowledge persist that must be filled if conservation measures are to succeed. The aim of this study was to recover and identify culturable mycorrhizal fungi from epiphytic orchids native to south Florida spanning seedling and mature growth stages. In particular, we wanted to pinpoint where viable fungal coils (pelotons) were located within root systems, and to identify these fungi using ITS amplification and sequencing. Among the taxa studied include six epiphytic species ( Encyclia tampensis , Epidendrum amphistomum , E. nocturnum , E. rigidum , Polystachya concreta , Prosthechea cochleata ), one terrestrial ( Bletia purpurea ), two leafless orchids ( Dendrophylax lindenii , Campylocentrum pachyrrhizum ), and one invasive ( Oeceoclades maculata ). Active pelotons were located in all epiphytic seedling roots sampled, primarily in the second centimeter region beyond the tip of younger roots affixed to the host tree substrate (pop ash, pond apple). These roots harbored fungi assignable to ubiquitous genera ( Ceratobasidium , Tulasnella ). Roots of the two leafless orchids yielded different Ceratobasidium strains, and ribbon orchids ( C. pachyrrhizum ) in different habitats appeared to utilize the same fungus strain.
(Note: this abstract will be submitted Monday, 2 March 2015)
KAVITA K. PATEL 1 , ERNESTO MUJICA 2 , LAWRENCE W. ZETTLER 1 . 2014. Orchid Recovery Program, Illinois College, USA 1 , ECOVIDA, Pinar del Rio, Cuba 2 . The Ghost Orchid, Dendrophylax lindenii, in South Florida and Cuba: a mysterious tale of two very different habitats catering to one orchid species.
Few orchids native to North America have received as much attention as the Ghost Orchid, Dendrophylax lindenii – the subject of best-selling books and a hit movie. The species is restricted to Cuba and the Big Cypress Basin eco-region of south Florida where it is found attached to host trees as a leafless epiphyte. In Florida, the species has suffered from habitat loss and poaching for its alluring floral display coupled with its favorable (sweet) scent. Although most people are familiar with D. lindenii inhabiting south Florida, few have ventured to Cuba to study populations in that country and how they are similar or dissimilar to those on the mainland. This talk will present a general overview of Cuban ghost orchid populations compared to those in the Big Cypress Basin eco-region after visits were carried out during the summer of 2013 to Florida, and January of 2014 to the Guanahacabibes National Park, Cuba. One striking difference between the two areas was the lack of standing water in the Cuban population and differences in host tree species. Orchids in both regions, however, were sheltered from wind (except for periodic hurricanes) and appeared to have continuous access to high relative humidity. By studying both habitats, we hope to provide useful insight for anticipated conservation projects this century aimed at D. lindenii ’s long-term survival.
ZINDEL, ADAM J. 1 , CRYSTAL A. ELLIOTT 1 , LAWRENCE W. ZETTLER 1 , JENNIFER A. ZETTLER 2 . 2013. Biology Department, Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL USA 1 , Department of Biology, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA USA 2 Boisduval scale ( Diaspis boisduvalii , Hemiptera: Diaspididae) on native epiphytic orchids in South Florida’s Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve – an update
About half (106) of North America’s orchid species are found in Florida, and half of these species are largely restricted to the Big Cypress Basin eco-region in the southern tip of the state. In the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, widely regarded as the “orchid capital of North America”, at least 44 native orchid species have been documented, many of which are state-listed epiphytes. In 2011, Boisduval scale ( Diaspis boisduvalii , Hemiptera: Diaspididae), was discovered at two sites within the Fakahatchee Strand for the first time. This phytophagous exotic species is considered the most important pest of cultivated orchids in Florida due to its ability to weaken or kill the host plant. Consequently, the presence of D. boisduvalii in this orchid-rich eco-region is of considerable concern. We present an update on the prevalence of Boisduval scale in the Fakahatchee Strand during a survey carried out in last summer (2012). Seven epiphytic orchid species were surveyed for D. boisduvalii and other phytophagous insect pests spanning 10 different sites. Boisduval scale was present at seven of the 10 sites, and primarily on two orchids: Epidendrum amphistomum , Prosthechea cochleata var. triandra . In addition, a new pest was also collected during the survey, Pseudococcus microcirculus (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), representing a state-record. Taken together, these exotic insects add an additional burden to state-endangered orchid populations.
RAY, HALEIGH A . 1 , LAWRENCE W. ZETTLER 1 , AND LARRY W. RICHARDSON 2 . 2012. Orchid Recovery Program, Illinois College 1 , Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Naples, FL 2 A survey of the insects inhabiting the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, including first documentation of the Mexican bromeliad weevil, Metamasius callizona (Coleoptera: Curculionidae).
Located in remote Collier County, the 10,684 hectare Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge (FPNWR) was established in 1989 to protect the endangered Florida Panther ( Puma concolor coryi ) and its habitat. Many types of natural communities are present within the refuge ranging from hardwood (tropical) hammocks, wet prairies, and swamps that collectively harbor considerable plant and animal diversity, including 27 species of orchids. Many native ecosystems in Florida have been invaded by exotic species in recent years necessitating biological surveys that document the existing flora and fauna. We present the first insect survey of the FPNWR carried out during a three year period (2009-2011). Black light, hand net, and malaise trap methods were used to collect insects. After capture, specimens were identified to genus and/or family level, and preserved using standard entomological protocols. All specimens were deposited into the Illinois College Insect Museum for future reference. A total of 78 insect families within 14 orders were acquired. Two exotics were collected that pose a threat to native epiphytic plants in the FPNWR: Mexican bromeliad weevil, Metamasius callizona , and the armored scales (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), namely Diaspis boisduvalii – a major pest of cultivated orchids. Also collected was Carter’s sphinx, Protambulyx carteri (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae), a native moth whose larva feeds primarily on Brazilian pepper – an invasive exotic shrub established throughout South Florida.
McCORMICK, JOHN P. 1 , HALEIGH A. RAY 1 , ANDREW L. STICE 1 , IAN STOCKS 2 , AND LAWRENCE W. ZETTLER 1 . 2012. Orchid Recovery Program, Illinois College 1 , Division of Plant Industry, Florida Dept. Agriculture & Consumer Services, Gainesville, FL 2 Occurrence of Boisduval Scale, Diaspis boisduvalii (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), on native epiphytic orchids in Collier Co., Florida, including Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve.
We present the results of a field study conducted in 2011 to assess native epiphytic orchids in South Florida for infestations of armored scales (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Diaspididae). A total of 1,726 orchids in 10 taxa were surveyed at seven locations at three sites. Boisduval scale, Diaspis boisduvalii Signoret, was detected on 2.3% of the orchids from six of the ten orchid species, and was present at all three primary sites surveyed. Prosthechea cochleata and Epidendrum amphistomum (Asparagales: Orchidaceae) appeared to be most vulnerable to this scale , with infection totals of 5.8% and 2.1%, respectively. Of 44 scales from the 39 orchids, 27% hosted hymenopteran parasitoids in various stages of development. The presence of D. boisduvalii adds an additional burden to state-endangered orchid populations and indicates that resource managers may need to expand management approaches to include plant-parasitic insect control.
6 th International Orchid Conservation Congress (2012) – Reunion Island, Indian Ocean
KAVITA K. PATEL 1 , KORRIE E. EDWARDS 1 , ANDREW L. STICE 1 , LARRY W. RICHARDSON 2 , LAWRENCE W. ZETTLER 1 . Orchid Recovery Program, Illinois College, USA 1 , Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Florida, USA 2 . Mycorrhizal fungi from native and invasive orchids inhabiting a remote, natural area in South Florida.
Located in remote South Florida within the Big Cypress Basin eco-region lies the 10,684 hectare Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge (FPNWR). Many types of natural communities are present within the refuge ranging from hardwood (tropical) hammocks, wet prairies, and swamps that harbor considerable plant and animal diversity including 27 species of orchids. During the past 10 years, several orchid taxa have been studied there with respect to their ecological needs, including the recovery and use of mycorrhizal fungi to facilitate seed germination for conservation. As many ecosystems worldwide are being invaded by exotic (pest) species on an increasing scale, biological inventories of the native flora and fauna are urgently needed before these ecosystems become permanently altered. For example, within the FPNWR, at least two non-native orchids have appeared with increasing frequency – Oeceoclades maculata and Eulophia graminea , from Africa and Asia, respectively. We report the isolation and tentative identification of mycorrhizal fungi from six orchid species acquired from the FPNWR in 2013. Four of these species are well-known native epiphytes ( Dendrophylax lindenii , Epidendrum amphistomum , E. rigidum , Prosthechea cochleata ), and two are terrestrial exotics ( E. graminea , O. maculata ). These fungal isolates have tentatively been identified as common basidiomycete associates ( e.g ., Ceratobasidium and Tulasnella ). Efforts are underway to confirm their identity using ITS sequencing followed by permanent deposition into UAMH (Canada) for safekeeping and future use. This talk will present an overview of these new mycorrhizal strains, as include a synopsis of the previous isolates secured from the FPNWR over the decade.


Upcoming Events

  • July 6, 2017
    Monthly Meeting


    Bill’s Mini Culture Class will return in July.

    Flower Registration 6:30 p.m.
    Flower Judging 7:10 p.m.
    Meeting 7:30 p.m.
    Program 7:45 p.m.

    6:30 pm,