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Biosphere, Fauna and Flora in Cuba Naturaleza
Cuba Naturaleza Biodiversity

Black Orchid (Prosthechea cochleata), part of the national flora of Cuba

Black Orchid (Prosthechea cochleata)
Scientific name: Prosthechea cochleata
Common name (english): Black Orchid
Common name (spanish): Orquidea Negra

The Black Orchid (Prosthechea cochleata), is an epiphytic, sympodial New World orchid native to Central America, the West Indies, Colombia, Venezuela, and southern Florida.

It is part of the national flora, while it is reported in the Pinar del Rio municipalities of Candelaria (Candlemas) and Bahía Honda (Deep Bay), in the Santiago de Cuba mountains, as well as in the rest of The Antilles.

Each oblong discoid pseudobulb bears one or two linear nonsucculent leaves. The flowers are unusual in that though the labellum is usually below the column in the orchids, in the members of Prosthechea the labellum forms a "hood" over the column.

This makes the flower effectively upside down, or resupinate. Whereas the species usually has one anther, Prosthechea cochleata var. Triandra is an endangered variety that has three anthers and is autogamous, allowing its existence in Florida where no appropriate pollinators appear to be present.

The Black Orchid (Prosthechea cochleata) is common in cultivation, and is valued for its uniquely shaped and long-lasting flowers on continually growing racemes. Several hybrids have been produced with this species, including the popular Prosyclia Green Hornet.

Cuba Naturaleza Biodiversity

© 2023 Nigel Hunt