Monday, July 11, 2011

Orchids Galore!

On our recent trip to Cedar Bog we found two more species of orchids. Let's face it, if we are going to look at botany, why not go for the big and flashy stuff?

Grass-Pink, Calopogon tuberosus

This orchid is not so big, only an inch or so across, but the color makes up for the size. A magenta colored orchid has real "wow factor." It is also interesting among orchids, as is operates up-side-down so to speak. The "lip" is on the top, and when a pollinator lands on the orchid, the spring-loaded lip smacks a load of pollen on the the poor unsuspecting bee! This must be Mother Nature's idea of a practical joke, but it gets the job done.

The full size of the orchid is not much more than 8-14 inches, and it often grows out of the sphagnum moss in high quality bogs and fens.

Purple Fringe Orchid, Platanthera psycodes

Rumor in the botany world had it that a rare Purple Fringed Orchid was being seen from the boardwalk at Cedar Bog. This was an opportunity I just couldn't pass up! This is an orchid we haven't seen in Richland County (my home) since the late 1800's. Here was my opportunity to get a mental search image for the correct habitat and get a look at the orchid, although it was sadly failing by the time we reached Urbana.

Purple Fringed Orchid..... photo by Andrew Gibson

Fortunately, young botanist Andrew Gibson was there last week and got spectacular photo- documentation of this very orchid and the wet woodlands it inhabits at Cedar Bog. He was kind enough to share his photos- so you can fully appreciate the beauty of this pastel charmer. It was a "life" orchid for me, and one I have been hoping to see for quite a while.

Cedar Bog is packed with rarities and loads of "regular" botany too. Please be sure to visit soon, and patronize the "Friends" concession in their lovely, new building. Not only did we find orchids, but there were several interesting lilies as well. Add in the insects, lizards and a bazillion species of plants, and you have plenty to hold your interest!

No comments:

Post a Comment