Flora and fauna of the Athens County area, and occasionally habitats outside Ohio. Subject matter will consist of both interpretive material and taxonomic issues in plant and animal identification.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Orchid Hunting

I tend to be somewhat anal retentive. I like to plan and schedule things ahead of time. But like the commercial says, "sometimes you just gotta break the rules". Judging by the beauty of this plant, I think you can see why a 'spur' of the moment trip was called for. Acting on a tip from some hard core Orchid hunters, Robyn from Wahkeena called me about these. I ran into Mike and Marshall, a couple of students of mine who were instantly excited to go along. So the four of us headed to Vinton County.

We found the Purple Fringeless Orchid, Platanthera peramoena, exactly where the directions led us. This Orchid prefers wet bottomland soils in marshy situations. We found nearly a dozen of them. The lips or petal edges are slightly serrated, but if you have ever seen the Purple Fringed Orchid, you'd understand why this is called fringeless. The upper lip looks like a sad turtle face with purple antennae. Just use your imagination, and don't ask me what I've been smokin'.

If the front of the flower isn't amazing enough, check out those long deep red nectar spurs. Recently Andrew Gibson told me that someone had dug up the Yellow Lady's Slipper Orchids found not too far from here, so I don't wish to disclose the location of these.

I had first run into this species years ago in the Jackson County area. All the plants were 12-18 inches tall, and with only a few flowers. I didn't realize how tall and full this plant could get.

While it's hard to judge perspective here, some of the plants were over three foot tall. Robyn has a picture with her next to one, and I may add that later. Anyhow, I don't usually post on a single species, but orchids are well worth it!

1 comment:

  1. I just returned from this very site, haha! I noticed quite a bit of foot traffic and now I understand why. I've never seen a specimen as monstrous as the one. They are gorgeous orchids and easily one of my favorites.