Vanilla phaeantha Rchb.f.

Leafy Vanilla, Oblong Leaved Vanilla

Facts About

Accepted Synonym: Vanilla planifolia var. macrantha

Vanilla phaeantha, commonly known as Leafy Vanilla or Oblong Leaved Vanilla, is distributed from south Florida throughout the Caribbean and southeast Mexico to Central America. This orchid germinates in the decaying leaves at the base of trees and stumps and may spend years winding up a tree trunk before reaching the increased light in the canopy needed to stimulate flowering. Stems have one oblong leaf per node and 1-12 pale green flowers per inflorescence develop in June and July. The white lip is tubular with yellow stripes. This orchid can be found growing on trees in cypress swamps and hammocks.

Vanilla phaeantha is endangered in Florida, although apparently secure across its wide range.


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

Ecosystem Type

Swamps, woodlands


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:
75–90 mm
Sepal length:
70–90 mm
Plant height:
Up to 2500 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