Vanilla barbellata Rchb.f.

Leafless Vanilla, Link Vine, Worm Vine

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Vanilla articulata, Vanilla bakeri

Vanilla barbellata, commonly known as the Worm Vine, is distributed in the West Indies and south Florida. Seedlings are initially terrestrial, germinating in the thick humus layer, but as the vine continues to grow upward, the older parts of the vine eventually die, leaving this orchid completely epiphytic. The vines turn bright orange in full sun and have one bract-like leaf per node and grow to 20 cm in length. Each inflorescence has 1-12 flowers with greenish-yellow sepals and petals. The colorful lip is tubular with a central strip of tiny yellow projections. Flowering occurs in June-July. Plants grow on trees, mostly in coastal mangroves and inland on trees in brackish wetlands.

Vanilla barbellata is endangered in Florida but apparently secure across its wider range.


Pollinator information for this orchid has not been reported but Vanilla species are often pollinated by large euglossine bees.

Ecosystem Type

Grassland, marshes, woodlands


Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is lobed
Main color of labellum:
  • pink to red
  • white
  • yellow
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
the labellum is lobed
Labellum length:
Up to 33 mm
Sepal length:
41–47 mm
Plant height:
Up to 200 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