Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Long-spurred Piperia (Piperia elongata)

Not nearly as impressive as its big brother, the Elegant Piperia, the Long-spurred Piperia nevertheless has a charm of its own.  It is shorter than the Elegant Piperia, the plants we've seen reaching only about 50 cm.  The flowers, too, are smaller, and are green instead of white, though the spur is longer and much more impressive than in the larger species.


The individual flowers are less than .5 cm, but the spur is about 1.5 cm in length and though slightly curved, is much very visible, often making a kind of criss-cross pattern on the spike.  The flowers may number up to 75 or 80 per spike and are easily identified by the spur and by their green color.  They are supposed to be fragrant like the flowers of Piperia elegans, but at night.

The plant has only a few leaves that have often disappeared by the time the plant flowers and that are almost unnoticeable when growing.  We've found it growing in very dry areas on a disturbed slope in and among brambles, sea grape and other low growing brush and found it both in shade and in full sun.  In shade the plants are quite a bit taller.

The plant is native to British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Montana, but is not common anywhere.  When we've found it, it has been fairly abundant in those locations, but we have only ever found it twice.  It also goes under the name Habenaria unalascensis ssp. elata.



4 comments:

  1. Oh you are making me itch for Spring

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  2. I can't wait for spring - I'm itching to do some real photography and some hiking.

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  3. Very nice shot in-situ. You have a great skills to hiking and caturing photos in-situ ;-)

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  4. Thanks for the compliment, friend. We love hiking and do a lot of photography, so it's probably morre practice than skill.

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