Habenaria distans Griseb.

False Water Spider

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Habenaria amparoana, Habenaria jamaicensis

Habenaria distans, commonly known as the False Water Spider, is found in three counties in southern Florida and extends into the West Indies, Central America, and northern South America. This orchid produces 3 to 6 glossy green leaves in a basal rosette that often lie on the soil surface. It bears an inflorescence of 5-15 pale yellowish green flowers arranged in a loosely flowered spike. The labellum is lobed in shape and has a club shaped spur. It blooms in mid-August through October. The current Florida population is restricted to the damp hardwood hammocks in the Fakahatchee Swamp. Historical populations were documented in Lee and Highland Counties, where the habitat is now believed to have been destroyed by feral hogs.

Habenaria distans is considered globally secure based on populations in Central and South America, however, it is endangered in Florida.


Pollinator information for this orchid has not been reported.

Ecosystem Type

Bogs, forests, marshes, swamps, woodlands


Leaf arrangement:
Number of leaves on stem:
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is simple
Main color of labellum:
green to brown
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a spike
Labellum characteristics:
  • the labellum has a spur
  • the labellum is lobed
Labellum length:
11–15 mm
Sepal length:
9–10 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 Secure
US Status N/A
Canadian Status N/A

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data