Friday, August 7, 2009

The Ornithological Orchid

Three-birds Orchid, Triphora trianthophora

On the northern edge of Ashland County lies a National Natural Landmark named Crall Woods. Owned by the Ashland County Park District, the 283 acres that make up this tract are filled with year-round beauty. Spring marks the most spectacular wildflower displays known in our area, and the stream cascades over mini-falls near the park entrance.

Scouting through the park with well known blogger, Tom Arbour, from Ohio's Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, we had something very different on our mind: orchids! Tom had discovered one of Ohio's rare and most diminutive orchids on this plot two years ago.

Jim Sloan, Tom Kruse of Ashland Park Board and Tom Arbour inspect the orchids.

Hard to believe that the ground around our feet was littered with the delicate beauties, however they are so small it nearly requires a head-stand to get at good look at them! At first blush, its growth habits reminds one of the ground-hugging saprophytes, but it more closely resembles a shrunken Arethusa orchid.
A sense of the minuscule proportions becomes evident next to the Blue Cohosh berries lying on the ground. These plants are listed as potentially threatened in Ohio, but some believe they may be more common than once believed. Given the eye-straining size of the species, combined with the short-lived bloom, usually withering in a day, they are difficult to locate. Add to the mix their sporadic blooming, and it becomes obvious why we were so excited by relocating these Lillipution sized orchids.


  1. Wow, such a tiny orchid! Amazing! I love finding the wild orchids here in the Black Hills. There are a couple still on my to-find list that are hard to come by, like this orchid.

  2. We would have never found this one without Tom Arbor! It was a great day- for sure!

  3. Hey Cheryl- Very nice. I'm glad that we got to see the orchid. I wanted to let you know that my last name has a "U" in it after the O. It's the British (or even Canadian I suppose) spelling. At least that is what Microsoft Word is always telling me when I run my name though spell check. No worries, this happens all the time.


  4. Very nice picks of the three-birds. Are you three as a bird now? Cause this bird you can not chaaannge, Oh, sorry. Skynyrd attack.