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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Chemistry Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #343592

Research Project: Insect, Nematode, and Plant Semiochemical Communication Systems

Location: Chemistry Research

Title: Floral fragrance analysis of Prosthechea cochleata (Orchidaceae), an endangered native, epiphytic orchid, in Florida

Author
item Ray, Haleigh - University Of Florida
item Stuhl, Charles
item Gillett-kaufman, Jennifer - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Plant Signaling and Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/8/2017
Publication Date: 1/17/2018
Citation: Ray, H.A., Stuhl, C.J., Gillett-Kaufman, J.L. 2018. Floral fragrance analysis of Prosthechea cochleata (Orchidaceae), an endangered native, epiphytic orchid, in Florida. Plant Signaling and Behavior. 13(1):e1422461. doi:10.1080/155923424.2017.1422461.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/155923424.2017.1422461

Interpretive Summary: The Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in South Florida is home to 27 known native orchid species, including the clamshell orchid. This orchid is listed as endangered on Florida's Regulated Plant Index. Previous research performed in Mexico stated that the clamshell orchid does not produce a floral fragrance. Orchids grown at the University of Florida in Gainesville were discovered to be producing a fragrant odor. Research conducted investigated the presence of floral fragrance odor compounds from the clamshell orchid by chemical analysis. The orchids sampled were found to be consistently producing an odor that contained eight floral compounds common to orchid species. By knowing the fragrance compounds produced, we can better understand the pollination biology of this endangered orchid. This information could be used to help future conservation efforts for the clamshell orchid by increasing pollination and subsequent seed production.

Technical Abstract: South Florida is home to a number of native species of orchids. The Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge has 27 known species, including Prosthechea cochleata, the clamshell orchid, which is listed as endangered on Florida's Regulated Plant Index. In a prior study done on this species in Mexico, P. cochleata was found to produce no floral fragrance at the particular study location. However, blooming orchids of this species at the University of Florida in Gainesville were noted to be fragrant. In this paper, we document the presence of floral fragrance compounds from P. cochleata by using by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis of headspace volatile collection. The orchids sampled were found to be consistently producing eight volatiles that are common in floral fragrances, including those of previous orchid species studied. By knowing the fragrance compounds produced, we can better understand the pollination biology of this endangered orchid. This information could be used to help future conservation efforts for P. cochelata by increasing pollination and subsequent seed capsule production.