Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Brownie Lady's Slippers near Greenwater
Wednesday, July 26th, was our day out for the week (we try to get out once a week in the summer), and we decided to explore the Greenwater area near Mount Rainier and look there for the Clustered or Brownie Lady's Slipper, a native orchid that we had not seen in bloom yet this year.
We left at 3:00 am and drove down to our destination and then up several Forest Service roads, arriving at our trailhead before 7:00 am. We took our time, stopping for coffee and for breakfast and for for pictures along the way. Along the FS roads we saw a number of other orchids but did not stop for them until later.
This was a good day for orchids. We saw ten different species and a color variety of one of them along with many other wildflowers. One of the species was not yet in bloom and one nearly finished with only a few flowers still hanging on, but this was the star of the show.
The Clustered or Brownie Lady's Slipper is the smallest and rarest of our native Lady's Slippers and this location is protected. Usually we find this hidden by other vegetation because it is so small, but here the plants were growing in abundance on an open bank.
The plants we saw were 10-15 cm tall with the usual two opposite oval leaves and with one to three flowers per plant and with the usual range of color from green to a rich mahogany purple. The plants seemed to be thriving in this location with many new seedlings evident.