Sunday, July 5, 2015

Algonquin Orchids

Botany has always been a very casual pursuit for me - although I'll identify cool things as I find them, I've never really made much effort to search for particular species. This year I decided to put quite a bit of effort into looking for orchids, which has been very enjoyable so far.

One of the most common, and certainly the most obvious orchids in Algonquin Park is the Pink Lady's Slipper or Moccasinflower, found in a variety of coniferous habitats in June.

Dwarf Rattlesnake Plantain is fairly similar to the other rattlesnake plantains, but can be readily separated by its small size. For size reference, my phone is about 13 cm x 7 cm.

The flowers will open later in the summer, and I am hoping to catch them in bloom.

Another species that isn't yet in bloom is the Large Round-leaved Orchid - an appropriate name if I ever heard one!

Not all orchids are nearly so obvious. Green Adder's Mouth is a tiny and unspectacular orchid under 10 cm tall. I found a few individuals just coming into bloom in a pine plantation on the East Side of Algonquin Park.

The same location held numerous Tesselated Rattlesnake Plantain, which are similar to but larger than the Dwarf Rattlesnake Plantain above.

I believe these are Club-spur Orchids, another unassuming species. They are growing in a open, somewhat boggy lakeshore, and unfortunately I am not able to return to the site to see them in bloom.

In stark contrast to the above species, Grass-pink or Calopogan is incredibly showy. The flower's are twisted 180 degrees compared to most other orchids, although developmentally it is more accurate to say that all other orchid flowers are twisted!

Rose Pogonia, found in the same boggy habitats, is more subtle but still very attractive.

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