Flora 48: 274. 1865
Roots usually 1–2 per node, gray, 1–3 mm diam. when aerial, thicker and villous when in contact with substrate, glabrous. Stems occasionally branched, 3–9 mm diam., smooth. Leaves early deciduous; blade broad basally, otherwise narrowly lanceolate, relatively thin, to 4 × 0.8 cm. Inflorescences axillary on short lateral branches, several- to many-flowered racemes, 1.5–6 cm excluding peduncle; floral bracts broadly ovate, 4–12 mm, fleshy. Flowers: sepals and petals green, somewhat spreading, distinct and free; sepals oblong-oblanceolate, 3–4 × 0.9–1.2 cm; petals oblong-oblanceolate, slightly falcate, dorsally keeled, 3–4 × 1–1.3 cm, apex acute to obtuse; lip greenish abaxially, deep red adaxially, shading to white margin, with broad, yellow midrib, overall triangular-obovate, medially thickened, apex 3-lobed, lateral lobes arching over column, orbiculate, margins involute, sinuses 4–5 mm deep, middle lobe reflexed, fleshy; disc with tuft of rigid, retrorse bristles; claw and basal margins adnate to proximal 1/2 of column; column straight, semiterete, 2.3–3.3 cm; pedicellate ovary 3–4.5 cm. Berries pendent, fusiform-cylindric, slightly curved, 7–9 cm × 9–13 mm.
Phenology: Flowering Apr–Jun.
Habitat: Mangroves, coastal hammocks, bay tree islands, rocky pinelands
Elevation: 0–20 m
Fla., West Indies.
Vanilla barbellata is known in the flora area from several keys in Everglades National Park, Miami, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, Florida (P. M. Brown 2002).