The Ghost Orchid is rare but can be found in bloom now at Corkscrew Sanctuary. Dennis Goodman Photography
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary — The “Super Ghost” of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary broke all ghost orchid records July 5 with 15 open blooms from 20 buds, a unique local celebrity. It’s second blooming in August with 11 new open blooms continued its legendary status.
Rare and endangered, this wild orchid is a destination for rare orchid quests. Ghost orchids typically only grow deep in the Everglades and parts of Cuba, usually one illusive bloom at a time.
Journalist Susan Orlean, author of Orchid Thief in 1998, followed by the movie Adaptation in 2002, slogged through the inhospitable Fakahatchee Strand and never found the illusive ghost orchid, the object of poachers and the plot of her non-fiction story.
In stark contrast, author and journalist D. K. Christi, feature writer and Our Best Friends columnist for Spotlight Magazines, was counted among the “obsessed” by local media after the “Super Ghost” discovery with 11 blooms on her July 2007 birthday.
“I was mesmerized as I studied these mystical and gossamer white orchids without leaves, perched at the ends of slender stems, dancing in the swamp breeze high in the canopy,” said Christi. “They felt feminine with a story to tell.”
She celebrated her 2009 birthday with the publication of the only novel about the “Super Ghost,” Ghost Orchid, inspired by her response to its magic and beauty and her training as a Corkscrew boardwalk naturalist.
“I always loved the serenity and power of the sanctuary,” said Christi, “but this orchid called to me, like a spiritual gift with ethereal, ghostly qualities.
Darryl Saffer, award-winning environmental filmmaker produced the Ghost Orchid book trailer with original Everglades video clips and haunting flute music because he enjoyed the story. Ed Carlson, former long-time director of Corkscrew Swamp said, “I loved the novel.”
Christi connects the ghost orchid legends and botanical uniqueness in entertaining and informative presentations for organizations and interested groups, “Sex, Myth and Magic, the Ghost Orchid.” She shares tales of woe from potential domestic growers who persevere with patience. Ghost orchids, among the most sophisticated orchid species, are pollinated by a single sphinx moth and choose their environment. Removal from their wild location is certain death.
Find Ghost Orchid at libraries and for sale at booksellers and online. Ghost Orchid sales at the Corkscrew nature store benefit the sanctuary. More at www.dkchristi.com and www.corkscrew.audubon.org
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
375 Sanctuary Road West (off Immokalee Rd.), Naples