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The Exotic Rainforest


Encyclia cochleata
Hybrid Orchid
'Mercos' x 'Alto'

A most unusual orchid whose parents can still be found in Southern Florida,  Encyclia cochleata, or at least the parent species, is often called the Clamshell Orchid due to the shape of its lip petal.  In Florida, it is also known as the Florida Cockleshell Orchid.  This Encyclia does not have the typical round pseudobulb common to many Encyclia orchids.  The petite flowers have a purple lip with dark lines radiating out of a greenish yellow bloom that can appear at any time of the year.  The lip stands upwards with the other two greenish yellow petals and the three sepals hanging twisted downards.  This epiphytic orchid species can be found from southern Florida  through Mexico, the Caribbean, and in South and Central America normally in and around swamps and hammocks.  The parent species is now considered a rare and endangered plant.