Monday, July 2, 2018

Ten Orchid Species in Mount Robson Provincial Park

Calypso bulbosa var. americana

We backpacked in Mount Robson Provincial Park In British Columbia recently.  We went both for the scenery and the native orchids and were well satisfied with what we saw of both.  On the 23km hike to our campsite we found ten different orchids in bloom and saw several more that were not yet in bloom, a total of twelve, ten of which are featured in this post.  I posted them in the order we saw them, though we saw several species at different places along the trail.

Corallorhiza maculata var. maculata

Neottia borealis

Neottia cordata var. cordata

Neottia cordata var. cordata fma. viridens

Platanthera obtusata

Cypripedium parviflorum var. parviflorum

Galearis rotundifolia

Cypripedium passerinum

Galearis rotundifolia fma. lineata

Platanthera aquilonis

Corallorhiza trifida

Calypso bulbosa var. americana

Mount Robson and Berg Lake

Two Color Forms of Galearis rotundifolia

While orchid hunting in Kootenay National Park in British Columbia we found two color forms of Amerorchis rotundifolia now Galearis rotundifolia.  The ordinary form has a spotted lip (see photo below) but these two forms are different.  Fma. lineata has a lip with heavy purple "lines" and fma. immaculata has a pure white lip.  I had seen fma. lineata before but had never seen fma. immaculata.

Galearis rotundifolia fma. immaculata

 Galearis rotundifolia fma. lineata

In addition to these forms we found a form, not named, but probably fma. lineata, with a lip that ws almost solid purple.  There are other color forms as well, some of which we've seen and some not.  There is a pink-flowered form, an all-white form and a form with green on lip and very faint pinkish-purple markings.  Some effort is required to examine the plants for these different forms but the effort is often rewarded since they often grow mixed in with the ordinary spotted form of the flowers.

Galearis rotundifolia is a small terrestrial orchid, generally around 15 cm with 2 cm flowers, with up to 15 flowers per inflorescence.  It easily goes unnoticed but up close is very beautiful with the flowers resembling little angels.  When found it is often found in abundance with hundreds of plants in an area.  It prefers slightly shady forest locations that have plenty of water and is widespread.

Galearis rotundifolia

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Finally Platanthera obtusta in Washington

Platanthera obtusata, the Blunt-leaved Rein Orchis, is very common in the Canadian Rockies and further north and we've seen it often, so often that we do not usually stop to photograph it.  It was, however, one of only two orchids native to Washington that we had not seen in the state.

We'd been given several sets of GPS coordinates by a friend and finally found the species in the Okanogan Highlands in north-central Washington in two locations.  We had to do some scrambling and bushwacking to see it, but found it at peak of bloom and were delighted to add it to our list.

In both cases it was growing on the edge of a bog, about twenty plants at each location.  We did not stay long for photos since the mosquitoes were thick and biting, but got enough photos to record the find, beautiful in the photos but in fact rather small and uninspiring and easily missed.

New Location for Epipactis gigantea

Having information from a friend who found the species there (he was along on the excursion) we visited Dry Falls State Park in central Washington to see Epipactis gigantea, the Stream Ochid.  Reputed to be rare in the state there were thousands of plants at two locations in the park, and though the flowers were just beginning to open we were able to get enough photos to prove that we had seen the species there.


Epipactis gigantea is an attractive species, always growing near water and often on the very edge of streams and lakes.  That was the case here also.  Sometimes the flowers are rather dull-colored but often they are the opposite, as the photos demonstrate.  It is also a rather large plant as native orchids go, and it is surprising that with its size and the number of plants it had not been previously reported from this location.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

2017, A Missed Year

2017 was a missed year for us as far as native orchids were concerned. I was in the hospital four times from March through August and did not really start feeling better until January of 2018.

Back on March 22 I went in to emergency at the local hospital with what I thought and the doctors first thought was appendicitis. An abdominal drain was put in to drain off the expected infection with an appendectomy scheduled several weeks later. The abdominal drain, however, produced no signs of infection but rather a kind of mucous and I was sent on to a specialist in Seattle who diagnosed the problem as mucinous neoplasms of the appendix, basically a tumor of the appendix that was producing a mucous-like substance that would in time strangle my organs and that could also have been cancerous. I had surgery on May 9 and had my appendix, part of my colon, gall bladder, omentum and peritoneum removed and was in the hospital recovering until May 24th (15 days). Thankfully, there were no signs of cancer.

While recovering from the surgery at home I ended up back in the hospital the end of June with blood clots in left leg and in my lungs. After spending several days in the hospital and being prescribed blood thinners I was sent home again and began the recovery from that problem.

Then the beginning of August I was back in the hospital, first in Bellingham and then after being transferred, in Seattle, this time for an obstructed bowel, the result of scar tissue. That stay lasted a week before the obstruction cleared and again I was sent home and have been home since gradually regaining my strength.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The End of Another Season

Our 2016 native orchid season was considerably abbreviated by a trip to Australia, so we saw only a limited number of the species we usually visit and did not accomplish much of what we had intended for the season.  The high point was finding in Washington a species we had seen elsewhere but not in the state, Listera or Neottia borealis, the Northern Twayblade.  True to its name we found it in the northernmost parts of the state.

We also looked for and found again some rarities, particularly the natural hybrid of the two varieties of Fairy Slippers, the Eastern and Western Fairy Slippers, Kostiuk's Hybrid Fairy Slipper, Calypso bulbosa x kostiukiae, and the white form of the Western Fairy Slipper, Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis fma. nivea.  Both of these were growing where we had found them previously and seemed well established in those locations.

We found some new sites for the Western Fairy Slipper and for the Early Coralroot, Corallorhiza trifida, the latter especially important since it is not common in the state of Washington.  These sites were on both sides of the Cascades and proof that the species is adaptable and quite widely distributed, though it is here near the southern end of its range, being much more common as one moves to the north. 

We missed a lot of species, however, and will have to look for some of them next year.  As always are plans are to look for new locations and to find in the state of Washington the species we have not yet seen there, especially Dactylorhiza viride var. virescens, the Long-bracted Green Orchis, and Platanthera obtusata var. obtusata, the Blunt-leaved Rein Orchis, and we have locations for both within the state.

Monday, August 8, 2016

An Alien Species in Larrabee State Park

Friday, August 5, I visited Larrabee State Park south of Bellingham to see how the Broad-leaved Helleborines were doing.  Due, I suspect, to the dry summer we've had some were already finished and others were just starting to bloom and in one location there were very few to found, though they are usually abundant in that location.  Epipactis is not a New World native but comes from Europe.  It has, however, established itself across the USA and Canada.  Here are the photos I was able to take.