Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Piperia elegans on Vancouver Island

On July 21st I went with several others under the able leadership of Dr. Hans Roemer to a high altitude bog on Vancouver Island to find Chamisso's Orchid (Platanthera chorisiana), a tiny rare species of Bog Orchid. After slogging through miles of bog we found what we were looking for.

On the way home we stopped at a park on the coast, Witty's Lagoon Regional Park to look for Piperia elegans, the Elegant Piperia.  We found it there growing in the woods along the water, but many of the plants were deformed, probably by a late frost, according to Dr. Roemer.

Leaving the park we also visited Dr. Roemer's home and found the same orchid growing on property.  Again, the orchid was growing in the woods in a rather dry location.  It was growing with another Piperia, the Flat-spurred, Piperia transversa, but I did not get pictures of that species.


  1. I was just at Deception Pass and walked the Bowman Bay trail to Lighthouse Island. On the south side of this area, facing the bridge, there is a rocky bald meadow with what looks like Habernaria (Piperia) elegans just overlooking the water's edge. I just checked the DPSP plant list for this species and my best guess is between elegans and the 'greenei. My old Hitchcock says the H greenei Fls are mostly white and the H. elegans Fls are mostly greenish...I'm thinking that the descriptions got reversed..and that this is a typo. I didn't bring my camera but if you've been here and know the species I'd love to know! Thanks, Melissa

    1. As I understand things, Mel. H. greenii is a synonym of Piperia elegans. I have not seen P. elegans around Deception Pass (if it is elegans I would love to find it there), but there are two other species that grow in the area, P. elongata, with greenish flowers widely spaced and tall stems, and P. transversa with shorter stems and a spur that stand more or less at a right angle to the stem.