Thursday, September 15, 2011

Epipactis gigantea at Lake Crescent

Epipactis gigantea is one of the more colorful and showy of our native orchids, but is quite rare in our area, though much more common to the south of us.  We know only a couple of sites and make a point of visiting them, if possible, every year.  To our dismay, we visited one of those sites at Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park and found that someone, probably a park employee, had used a strimmer on the site and that only a couple of stems of what is usually a good show remained.  The area has a beach and is a high use area, but there was no reason for what had been done to this valuable stand of orchids.

In this location the species grows right on the edge of the lake making photography extremely difficult.  I had to kneel in the lake and my wife sat down on a rock in the water to get pictures, but ended up wet anyway.  Adding to the difficulty was a light breeze which made both the stems and the moveable lip difficult to photograph without blur.  We managed to get some pictures by using a high ISO and shutter speed, and these are the best of our pictures.  The moveable lip is the reason this plant is sometimes called the Chatterbox Orchid and its liking for wet areas the reason it is known as the Stream Orchid.

For another look at this species check out this older post:

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