Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chatterbox (Epipactis gigantea)

Epipactis gigantea is rightly named the Stream Orchid or Chatterbox.  In the one place we've found it here in Washington, we found it growing in one large clump right beside the lake, so close, in fact, that it was difficult to get pictures without getting wet feet.

It was also very windy that day and we discovered why this orchid is known as the Chatterbox.  It has a movable lip, not unlike a little mouth, that in the wind made photography very difficult.  The story of our finding this native orchid is at: http://ronaldhanko-orchidhunter.blogspot.com/search/label/epipactis%20gigantea

The plant can be as tall as 100 cm, but the plants we found were only a little over 30 cm tall.  The leaves are pleated and the flowers are around 3 cm in size, very beautiful and very showy.  There can be up to twenty-five flowers per spike, though the most we've seen is ten.

The plant ranges from British Columbia south to Mexico and east to Montana, South Dakota and New Mexico.  It is very rare in our area, but can be relatively common in some places.  It is usually found in very wet areas and flowers during July and August.


  1. This is really nice...too bad they don't grow in Florida, although they grow in the Houston area, which is every bit as hot and sticky as north-to-central Florida.

  2. I thought I remembered someone talking about finding them when we lived in Houston, but the USDA reports it only as far east as New Mexico in that part of the country.

  3. It's really nice plants. After i read your blog...i think i don't want to get up from my chair ;-)
    You bring this native plant to the world in different way. I'm just day dream here...I cannot plant this orchid in my garden, but really enjoy read yours.

  4. Thanks for the really nice comment. Am looking forward to seeing more orchids on your Blog.