Monday, November 1, 2010

Lesser Rattlesnake Orchis (Goodyera repens)


The Lesser Rattlesnake Orchis, Goodyera repens does not grow in Washington, but in the northwest reaches the southern limit of its range in British Columbia.  Further east it grows as far south as the Appalachian Mountains, and is widespread, growing in Europe and Asia as well.

We see its cousin, the Giant Rattlesnake Orchis (giant only in comparison) on almost every hike, and we've seen this also on our numerous trips to the Canadian Rockies, but never in bloom.  This year we were late enough to see it in bloom for the first time at Mount Robson Provincial Park.


It has a tiny rosette of about half a dozen leaves, beautifully reticulated in the plants we saw, but often hidden in the moss in which it grows.  The flower spikes were 30 cm or less on the plants we saw and carried several dozen 2 cm crystalline white flowers, with a hairy exterior.


We thought it daintier and more attractive than its larger cousin, but that may only have been because we were seeing it for the first time.  We found it all along the trail at all elevations and always in relatively protected and shady locations, even in some cases in a layer of moss on the rocks.


6 comments:

  1. Perfeita, imagens maravilhosas.
    abra├žos

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    1. Thanks, as always, for your kind comments. I enjoy visiting your beautiful blog.

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  2. Those are really nice pictures. Especially the flower details.
    I have stumbled across those in Canada by accident too. We found it close by the path in Maligne Canyon/Jasper.

    We have pretty good numbers of Goodyera repens in Germany. They seem to love pine forests. However it is not as abundant by a long shot as Goodyera oblongifolia in your forests.

    Unfortunately it is one of the native orchids I never really managed to get a real good picture of. I guess there is always next year. Makes me appreciate those pictures even more.

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    1. We hike in the Canadian Rockies nearly every year, but we had never seen these in bloom because we always hike earlier in the season. Deliberately went later this year in order to see them, since they don't grow here in Washington, though, as you say, the other species is everywhere.

      Maligne Canyon is a fabulous place for orchids. Cyp. parviflorum grows there, Coeloglossum viride, a number of Platantheras, etc. Tehre are also some other wildflwoers there including Lilium philadelphicum which we always go to see.

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  3. Ron these are fantastic. Love that you found some that were actually white and fresh.

    I cannot image how small these are since our Giant is anything but that.

    Thanks for the tips on new camera for me, got the Nikon F510. Hoping for a clear sky for Blue Moon

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    1. Thanks, Marti. I think "Lesser" is a good description. They are decidedly smaller than the "Giant," which as you say is anything but. They are not that much smaller, however.

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