Monday, June 28, 2010

Butterfly orchid

Butterfly orchid, originally uploaded by Elizabeth Smith.
A friend of mine presented me with a cluster of these pseudobulbs after one of the cypress trees in her backyard died and fell over. What a wonderful gift! I’m pleased to see them still blooming and thriving every summer, and always have great plans to do a large and detailed painting of them.

Well… time is not my friend this year, so I settled for a small study in my nature journal. If you’d like to read an article I wrote some time ago about this lovely little orchid, you can access it here from the Palmetto’s online repository. The Palmetto is a quarterly journal published by the Florida Native Plant Society.

While I was observing the flowers, I noticed a busy honeybee wrestling its head into each of the blooms. Each time its head emerged, it was topped by an ever-increasing “hat” of bright yellow pollen. This bee was almost too large to fit into the blooms, and had to work quite hard, so I’m sure the rewards must have been delicious!

Clicking on the very top image will take you to my Flickr photostream.


  1. Even the name is pretty: "butterfly orchid." I'm smiling because I noticed your weather/temperature notation in the upper right hand corner...that about sums up summer in Florida! I would have loved to see the little bee in action, but since I can't, will you draw/paint him for me? :)

  2. Hi Kathy! Ha! Yes, June through September in our part of Florida is pretty much the same every day, broken up only by tropical storms and hurricanes!

    Just for you: I added the bee with its pollen headgear!

    The orchid lip made a handy landing platform,and I was able to get a couple of reference photos while I was out there. the top flowers I drew from a sprig I brought inside because of said heat and rain.

  3. Thank you, Prem! Your blog has some of the most beautiful orchid photos! :)