Oncidium ensatum Lindl.

Florida Oncidium

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Cyrtopodium verrucosum, Oncidium confusum, Oncidium floridanum

Oncidium ensatum, commonly known as the Florida Oncidium or Dancing Lady, is distributed in tropical America, the Bahamas and extends into southern Florida. This species has 2-6 linear leaves extending from the pseudobulb. The inflorescence (up to 2 m) is an arching panicle from the base of the pseudobulb with up to 80 green, yellow, and brown flowers. The labellum is lobed and yellow. This orchid may occur in terrestrial habitats of rich humus in relatively dry hammocks, or as epiphytes at the base of cypress trees in wet forests.

Oncidium ensatum is apparently secure across its range but considered endangered in Florida where some populations have been extirpated due to changes in hydrology, illegal collection, and habitat loss.


Male oil-collecting bees in the genus Macropis pollinate this orchid when they mistake the branched inflorescences for swarms of a different bee species. This triggers the territorial response in these males and they attack the "swarm" with the intent of driving the foreign species out. The bees get pollen attached to their heads which are then transferred to another flower in a subsequent "attack."

Ecosystem Type

Forests, grassland, woodlands


  • epiphyte
  • terrestrial
Leaf arrangement:
Number of leaves on stem:
  • two
  • three
  • four
  • five
  • six
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is lobed
Main color of labellum:
  • green to brown
  • yellow
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum is lobed
Labellum length:
11–15 mm
Sepal length:
14–16 mm
Plant height:
Up to 150 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 Apparently Secure
US Status N/A
Canadian Status N/A

North America Distribution

Adapted from USDA data