Thursday, June 2, 2011

Corallorhiza maculata on Whidbey Island

On our recent camping trip son Edward and I made a quick side trip to the grounds of the Pacific Rim campus of the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies.  We went to check on the population of the Ozette Coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata var. ozettensis) that is found on their property, only the second known location for this rare native orchid species, Washington's only endemic orchid.

We found the Ozette Coralroots only just starting to put up their flower spikes, but found the more common variety of the species, the Western Spotted Coralroot (C. maculata var. occidentalis) in full bloom along with the Fairy Slippers (Calypso bulbosa).  I had never seen such large clumps of them, nor so many of them in one location before.  They were everywhere.

We found them all through the woods, mostly growing as a few spikes in each location, but near the edge of the woods and just a bit away from the road there were hundreds of spikes growing in dense clumps.  We had time for a few pictures, somewhat difficult in the fading light and breeze, and the majority of these pictures were taken in that location.

As is evident from the pictures we found both the brown-stemmed and the red-stemmed forms of this species and in one location in the woods we found a single stem whose flowers seemed to be of the other variety, maculata.

For more information on this species check my previous post on this blog which describes this orchid:

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