Monday, August 27, 2012

Pad-leaved Orchis and Lesser Rattlesnake Orchis along the Berg Lake Trail

We were in Edmonton August 6-10 to see our son-in-law, daughter and two grandchildren there.  We left early in the morning on the 11th and spent the day in Mount Robson Provincial Park hiking the Berg Lake trail as far as Whitehorn, about seven miles (23 kilometers).

We love this area for its spectacular scenery, but it is also an orchidist's paradise, and though we were later than usual, we did find a few in bloom, including one rather common orchid we had not seen in bloom before, as well as many old friends finished blooming and gone to seed.

Those we saw finished and gone to seed were:
Amerorchis rotundifolia (Small Round-leaved Orchis)
Calypso bulbosa var. americana (Eastern Fairy Slipper)
Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens (Large Yellow Lady's Slipper)
Cypripedium passerinum (Sparrow's-egg Lady's Slipper)
Listera borealis (Northern Twayblade)
Listera cordata var. cordata (Heart-leaved Twayblade)
Platanthera aquilonis (Northern Green Bog Orchis)
Platanthera dilatata (Bog Candle or White Bog Orchis)
Platanthera huronensis (Green Bog Orchis) - a few of these were still in bloom
Platanthera obtusata var. obtusata (Blunt-leaved Rein Orchis
Platanthera stricta (Slender Bog Orchis)

There were a couple we had seen before that we did not see this time:
Corallorhiza maculata var. maculata (Spotted Coralroot)
Corallorhiza trifida (Early Coralroot)
Coeloglossum viride var. virescens (Long-bracted Green Orchis)

We also saw Goodyera oblongifolia, the Giant Rattlesnake Orchis just starting to bloom, but I did not get any pictures as it is common throughout our area.  The two we did see in bloom were the Lesser Rattlesnake Orchis, Goodyera repens, and the Pad-leaved Orchis, Platanthera orbiculata.

The latter was blooming as single plants scattered in mossy, shady areas throughout the woods to the east of Kinney Lake.  It is without doubt the most beautiful of the Platantheras in our area, both for its large and striking flowers and its beautiful, plate-shaped leaves.

The Lesser Rattlesnake Orchis we had seen before, but never in bloom, since we are usually in the area in June and July and this blooms in August.  Its crystalline white flowers were a delight.  It was everywhere and did not seem to be very fussy about location.