Bloom Spring 2018 - Page 23

Ghost Orchid Epipogium aphyllum The Ghost orchid is a fascinating rare plant that was presumed extinct for almost 20 years, only recently did it rear its head again. The plant is so rare because it is basically impossible to propagate. It has no leaves, does not depend on photosynthesis and does not manufacture its own food. Like the Lady slipper, it needs a specific fungus in close contact with its root system, which feeds it. The Ghost orchid never grows leaves, and will therefore always depend on the fungus for its nourishment. The Ghost orchid can live underground for years, without showing any external signs and will only bloom when all conditions are optimum. This explains why some orchid enthusiasts search for years and years just to have a glimpse of this elusive flower. Bloom | Spring 2018 21