Schomburgkia exaltata (now reclassified as Myrmecophila exaltata) is one of the most beautiful of all the flowering orchids. Delicate in both structure and colouration, it is indeed worthy of the pseudonym the 'Snowflake Flower'. Unfortunately, as gorgeous as it is, Schomburgkia exaltata is a relatively recent introduction and as such very little is known about it.
Species in this genus are either epiphytic (a plant that grows non-parasitically upon another plant) or lithophytic (plants which grow in or on rocks) in their growth habit.
Schomburgkia exaltata was discovered by Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Kraenzlin in 1926. Its native habitat is found along the Caribbean coasts of Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico in the low mountain forests and scrublands. It is a large, robust epiphyte that require the high temperatures of the tropics to perform. While it has short ribbed pseudobulbs no longer than a foot in height, the terminal flower raceme can reach two meters in height and carry up to 80 flowers. The species name 'exaltada' refers to this tall flower raceme and its ability to carry its flowers well above the surrounding plants.
Note. The Common name 'Snowflake Flower' was first coined by myself due to the striking resemblance of the flower structure to a snowflake. My apologies to anyone who feels that this name is not appropriate. To those I will use the case of the Black Hellebore as my argument. Do not forget that snow does not actually have any colour pigmentation - unless it is yellow!
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