Friday, May 24, 2013

Showy Orchis

   We found this pretty little orchid, the Showy Orchis, growing near a creek.  This orchid could easily go unnoticed as its flowers barely rise above the forest floor.  Each time we see one of these native orchids it's like a little surprise because they are small enough you are almost on top of them before you see them.  Speaking of surprises... the Showy Orchis has a surprise gift for its bumble bee visitors (I'll explain later).
  Here is a photo of the Showy Orchis (Galearis spectabilis) growing under a Maidenhair Fern.
The Showy Orchis has two broad leaves close to the ground and a short, leafy stalk where its lavender and white flowers bloom only inches from the ground.
The Showy Orchis has a lavender-colored hood and a good-sized white lip for its bumblebee landing pad.  Also, there is a long white spur from the back of the flower... this is where the nectar collects.
Isn't the Showy Orchis a lovely orchid?
Have you seen what this orchid does to bees?
   Yes, our native orchids each have a bee-tricking apparatus that functions as part of the complicated orchid pollination process.  The Showy Orchis is no exception, despite its unassuming size and habitat.
   Next up.... a look at the Showy Orchis and its pollination mechanism


  1. Love your "to be continued" posts ...

    BTW I rescued a slew of Salamander jelly egg masses two weeks ago. The ATV-ers had been through and the masses were splashed out of the water into the grass around the pond. I had wanted to email you some pics but my email to you bounced back ...


    1. Sybil,
      My "to be continued" posts are my way of making some posts into a more manageable size, time-wise. Good to hear you enjoy them.
      When you tried to email me, did you get the .us? try it again... dana at naturewalks dot us