Common Name: Rufous Orchid, Butterfly Orchid
Habit: Encyclia rufa grow as an epiphyte or among leaf detritus and rocks. It produces a very short rhizomatous stem that is covered with secondary stems that are expanded to form ovate pseudobulbs up to 12 cm long. From the top of the pseudobulb flattened linear leaves emerge that are up to 40 cm long.
The inflorescences are terminal panicles up to 90 cm long and contain 50-60 flowers that are produced in the spring between April and June. The flowers have bracts and the calyx has three greenish yellow sepals that turn brownish with age. The corolla has three petals with one forming the labellum. The labellum is three lobed, starts greenish yellow but develops reddish purple lines as the flower ages. Two lobes of the labellum wrap around the greenish yellow column. The column is formed from a fusion of the stamens and ovary into a single structure. The fruit is a capsule up to four cm long that opens along six suture lines and hangs allowing wind to assist in seed dispersal.
Habitat: Encyclia rufa occurs in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations (Coppice) that have a mixture of species or are palm dominated.
Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Encyclia rufa occurs on all islands in the Bahamian Archipelago as well as Florida and Cuba.
Cultural usage/Economic usage
While there are no medicinal uses of Encyclia rufa, like all orchids they are prized for their beautiful flowers. ALL orchids are protected internationally by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and should not be collected from the wild.