Lepanthopsis melanantha (Rchb.f.) Ames

Crimson Pygmy Orchid, Tiny Orchid

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Lepanthes brevipetala, Pleurothallis melanantha

Lepanthopsis melanantha, the Tiny Orchid, is distributed throughout the Caribbean including Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico with a single historical population confined to the Fakahatchee Swamp-Big Cypress area in south Florida. This orchid has an erect stem up to 5 cm in height surrounded by a series of tubular sheaths that terminates with a single small leaf. The very slender raceme arises from the base of the leaf with 5-7 carmine red flowers. The round lip is thick and fleshy and surrounds the column. The flowering period is primarily during the spring. Plants grow on the tips of cypress or pond apple branches, trunks of oaks, and at the base of bromeliads in mixed hardwood-cypress swamps and wet hammocks.

Lepanthopsis melanantha is considered vulnerable across its range but is endangered in Florida where this orchid has not been seen for several years and may be extirpated.


Pollinator information for this orchid has not been reported.

Ecosystem Type

Swamps, woodlands


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:
  • blue to purple
  • pink to red
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum is simple
Labellum length:
Up to 1 mm
Sepal length:
1.8–2 mm
Plant height:
4–7 cm
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 Vulnerable
US Status N/A
Canadian Status N/A

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data