Saturday, May 25, 2013

Seventh Week of the Native Orchid Season - Three Coralroots and the last of the Fairy Slippers


Managed to get out twice this week, once to Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands and once to several places in the Bellingham area.  The Coralroots are at their peak and I saw three species that can be found locally, the Western Spotted Coralroot, Corallorhiza maculata var. occidentalis, in several different color forms, the Western Coralroot, Corallorhiza mertensiana, in a rainbow of colors (please note all the different stem and flower colors), but all the form that Paul MartinBrown calls fma. pallida, and the Striped Coralroot, Corallorhiza striata var. striata  in a rather pale color form.  I found a few Western Fairy Slippers, Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis, and took pictures of one, but they are nearly finished at these lower elevations, though in the mountains they are either at their peak or have not even started to bloom yet.

Corallorhiza maculata var. occidentalis
Western Spotted Coralroot

with a stem holding last year's seed-pods

Corallorhiza maculata var. occidentalis fma. intermedia
Western Spotted Coralroot (brown-stemmed form)

Corallorhiza mertensiana fma. pallida
Western Coralroot (pale form)

with old stem holding last year's seed-pods

Corallorhiza striata var. striata
Striped Coralroot

 Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis
Western Fairy Slipper

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sixth Week of the Native Orchid Season - Fairy Slippers, Coralroots and Two Lady's Slippers

May 12-18

I was away for a day and half this week hunting for native orchids and other wildflowers in the Leavenworth area.  I visited three different locations and found Western Fairy Slippers and Western Spotted Coralroots at their peak in one location, Clustered Lady's Slippers at another location and Mountain Lady's Slippers at three different locations though they were not yet in bloom.

The Fairy Slippers, the Western variety in this case, Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis, are finished at lower elevations, but are reaching their peak or just beginning to bloom at higher elevations.  The location I visited has some of the nicest clumps of them I've found anywhere and I found a few paler forms as well, along with a bifoliate form (normally they only have one leaf).

The Clustered or Brownie Lady's Slipper, Cypripedium fasciculatum, is hard to find, even when one knows where to look, because it is so small.  I looked for it at another location as well and did not find it there, though I plan to go back and look again.  These, too, were at their peak and were blooming a little ahead of the regular blooming time, but not by much.

At the same location as Clustered Lady's Slippers I found a lot of Western Spotted Coralroot blooming, Corallorhiza maculata var. occidentalis.  They showed some variation from what I had seen earlier and in other places, with a narrower lip and a different pattern of spotting.  I looked for them, too, at the third location I visited but did not find them there this year.

At the same third location and at two other locations I found Mountain Lady's Slippers, but none of them were in bloom yet and at two locations they were still several weeks from blooming.  I did take pictures of the flowers just beginning to open, but will have to go back to catch them blooming.  It was nice to find a new location for these and I am sure there are more where I found them.