Encyclia tampensis (Lindl.) Small

Florida Butterfly Orchid

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Encyclia tampensis f. albolabia, Epidendrum tampense

Encyclia tampensis, the Florida Butterfly Orchid, is distributed in the Bahamas, Cuba, and Florida where it is one of the most abundant epiphytic orchids in the central and southern counties, especially along waterways. Pseudobulbs are dark green and typically an inch or less in diameter with one or two narrow grass-like leaves. Inflorescences emerge from the leaf axil and can have up to 45 fragrant flowers with sepals and petals in various shades of yellow, copper, green, or bronze and the lip is white veined with purple spots or striping in the center. The flowering period is May-August with a peak in June. This orchid grows on a wide variety of trees including live oak, red maple, gum, bald cypress, buttonwood, pop ash, and pond apple.

Encyclia tampensis is apparently secure across its range and although it is one of the most common epiphytes, this orchid has been commercially exploited.


This orchid is pollinated by bees such as Rubrica nasuta which leave the flower after a short visit with pollinia attached to their head. Stelopolybia pallipes has also been observed visiting the flower but is likely a nectar thief. The wasp left the flowers with pollinia attached but did not transfer pollinia to the stigma of another flower.

Ecosystem Type

Forests, swamps, woodlands


Leaf arrangement:
Number of leaves on stem:
  • one
  • two
  • three
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is lobed
Main color of labellum:
  • blue to purple
  • white
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
  • the inflorescence is a panicle
  • the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum is lobed
Labellum length:
12–18 mm
Sepal length:
12–22 mm
Show All Characteristics

Native to North America


North American Conservation Status & Distribution

Conservation Status

Select a location to view conservation status:

Conservation and Wetland Status
Global Rank Apparently Secure
US Status N/A
Canadian Status N/A

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data