Vanilla mexicana Mill.

Fuchs' Vanilla, Scentless Vanilla

Facts About

Accepted Synonyms: Epidendrum aromaticum, Notylia vanilla, Vanilla aromatica

Vanilla mexicana, commonly known as the Scentless Vanilla, is distributed in the West Indies, Mexico, Central America, northern South America and the coastal region of southeast Florida. This orchid is a many-branched vine that can grow up to 15 m. Plants produce one broadly ovate leaf per node and as the vine grows upward, aerial roots attach to the surface of the tree. Eventually the lower portion of the vine will die and the orchid continues to grow as a true epiphyte. The inflorescence has up to 6 pale green flowers with twisted petals and sepals. The white lobed lip has a central yellow crest and the lateral lobes curve upward to form the tubular lip. This orchid grows on trees in coastal wetlands, cypress swamps and hammocks.

Vanilla mexicana is considered vulnerable across its range. In Florida this orchid is listed as endangered where it is threatened by illegal collection and habitat loss.


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

Ecosystem Type

Marshes, swamps


Leaf arrangement:
Form of the labellum:
the labellum is not pouch-like
Labellum outline:
the labellum is lobed
Main color of labellum:
  • white
  • yellow
Nectar spur:
Inflorescence type:
the inflorescence is a raceme
Labellum characteristics:
  • the labellum is lobed
  • the labellum is saccate
Labellum length:
Up to 50 mm
Sepal length:
Up to 65 mm
Plant height:
500–1500 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