Mexican Vanilla / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Mexican Vanilla (Vanilla mexicana)

  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • State: FL
  • Nature Serve ID: 154850
  • Lifeform: Vine, Forb/herb
  • Categories of Interest: Orchids
  • Date Inducted in National Collection:

Vanilla mexicana is one of the rarest perennial orchids in Florida which begin growing in the ground from the roots of Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto) then work their way up a nearby tree as a vine. Each vine segment is 3-4 long, with a single large, broad, glossy, oval leaf and a single root. The root eventually attaches to the surface of the tree, allowing the upper portion of the plant to grow epiphytically. Over time, the ground-based portion of the plant dies, and the plant becomes a true epiphyte. Although they do not transplant well, the orchids were nonetheless nearly extirpated by collectors, then the remaining population was flooded by the storm surge from several recent coastal hurricanes. Seed pods continue to hang down from previous inflorescences, giving hope that more seedlings will grow in the future.

Where is Mexican Vanilla (Vanilla mexicana) located in the wild?

States & Provinces:

Mexican Vanilla can be found in Florida

Which CPC Partners conserve Mexican Vanilla (Vanilla mexicana)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Caribbean distribution uncertain; habitat being eliminated by development and hydrologic changes.

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Taxon Vanilla mexicana
Authority P. Mill.
Family Orchidaceae
CPC Number 6621
ITIS 505644
Duration Perennial
Common Names Mexican Vanilla | Vanilla Mexicana | Vainilla mexicana
Associated Scientific Names Vanilla inodora | Vanilla vanilla | Vanilla mexicana | Epidendrum aromaticum | Epidendrum vanilla | Notylia vanilla | Vanilla anaromatica | Vanilla angustifolia | Vanilla aromatica | Vanilla axillaris | Vanilla epidendrum | Vanilla pleei
State Rank
State State Rank
Florida S1
Ecological Relationships


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