While wandering around Myakka River State Park my friend Alyssa and I stumbled across a Tampa Butterfly Orchid (Encyclia tampensis) hanging out of a live oak.
The first part of the common name refers to the fact that the species was discovered in 1847 in the Tampa area. The second part was inspired by the way the flowers flutter in the breeze.
Though this delicate beauty is one of the most prolific orchids native to Florida (and the Caribbean), it is a regulated plant in the state. A move designed to protect the species from orchid thieves. Here’s hoping the species continues to thrive!