Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Suppport the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - November 27, 2007

From: Lares, Puerto Rico, Other
Region: Other
Topic: Vines
Title: Information about the wormvine orchid, Vanilla barbellata
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi My name is Santiago I'm from Puerto Rico and discover this Vanilla orchid in the forest, this orchid is V. barbellata var. alba? You have some information of how identify the V. barbellata and the respectives varietys. note: for the picture contact by e-mail. Thanks Santiago

ANSWER:

Vanilla barbellata (wormvine orchid) is native to Florida, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other islands of the Caribbean. I haven't been able to find any information about or descriptions of the different varieties of this orchid but I can guide you to several sources with keys and extensive descriptions of V. barbellata.

1. You can find a description of Vanilla barbellata in eFloras.com.

2. You can find a key to the Genus Vanilla by searching the "Key to Families" on the Flora of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands page sponsored by the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution.

3. You can also download a PDF file (~16 MB) of "Vines and Climbing Plants of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands" by P. Acevedo-Rodriguez that has an extensive description as well as detailed line drawings for V. barbellata and other related species.

4. You can see some excellent photographs and read descriptions on two web sites: Florida Keys and Native Orchids of South Florida. The author and photographer of the latter site has a link to his e-mail address. You might contact him to see if he has information about varieties of this orchid.

5. The New York Botanical Garden publishes An Orchid Flora of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands by James D. Ackerman (1995) that can be purchased from the NY Botanical Garden or that you might find in your local library.

6. Finally, since the New York Botanical Garden lists V. barbellata as endangered in Puerto Rico, you might want to be cautious about telling only reputable researchers, not collectors, about the exact location of the specimen you found.

 

More Vines Questions

Identification of vine with green flowers
May 23, 2012 - Trying to identify a vine with 5-petaled ~1 cm dia green flowers (w/ barely perceptible white & black speckles). I have 3 photos I can send (showing flowers & leaves). The flower petals are almost...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a plant that looks like a watermelon.
May 21, 2012 - A wild plant came up in my bed that looked like a watermelon plant. It had small yellow blooms and then marble balls formed with prickly thorns. The balls were in clusters. What kind of plant is i...
view the full question and answer

What color should I paint a gazebo for vines in Arizona?
January 29, 2014 - I have a two questions. I have a dome shaped metal gazebo that I want a vine to grow up the 4 columns and cover the top. I live in Tempe, AZ which is hugely hot in summer. The gazebo is black right ...
view the full question and answer

Vine recommendations for Central Texas homes
September 02, 2012 - I have hardy plank siding and am looking for a Central Texas native vine that will grow over it. I am trying to keep it from growing under the planks.
view the full question and answer

Identification of possible Hairy Cluster Vine or Clematis
May 28, 2007 - I found a small twining vine with purple to lavender, tubular flowers hanging on one side of the stem. The leaves are very narrow and alternate about 3/4"-1" long. I found them on the side of the ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.