Thursday, June 30, 2011


Orchids! Michigan's got them. On a recent trip to the U.P. we ran across a diminutive orchid nestled in the needles of Jack pine and spruce growing in a substrate of sand.

Ram's Head Orchid, Cypripedium arietinum

Small, but able to bring you to your knees, or belly. It is the only way to get a photograph of this quarter-sized flower head on a 3-4 inch stem. Rare in Michigan ( completely unknown to Ohio) this orchid favors two habitats, sandy spruce/pines groves or bogs. Pictured Rocks at Grand Marais, Michigan was where we found them.

An unusual color for Ram's Head Orchid.

I have seen other Cypripedium (slipper orchids) in lighter or whitened shades of their usual coloration, so variables do happen. It was just one more reason to take another 20 or so pictures!

Growing in small cluster next to the trail, they could be easily overlooked. Since we were unaware of their presence, it was a lucky find! Ram's Head orchids, are rare an in decline as their habitat is reduced. There is an excellent paper found here, if you would like to read more about their presence in Michigan.

Pink Lady's-slipper, Cypripedium acaule

Also growing in the same general area were Pink Lady's-slipper. We have these in Ohio and find them each year at Flora-Quest, but I had to admire Michigan's too!

A view of Lake Superior from the top of the dunes. Winding up from the woodland, this trail crested on the peak of a dune, allowing stellar views of a picture perfect day.

I hope you'll put Grand Marais and Pictured Rocks on your travel list.


  1. Excellent post, Cheryl! The Ram's heads where the main reason I took my trip up to the Bruce. Such a remarkably tiny plant! I loved every second of seeing those things.

  2. Yep substrate. That looks better- my "spulling" isn't so hot! Apparently, blogger's spell-check isn't either. :)