April 28-May 4
Friday, May 3rd, I visited five different sites on Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands looking for native orchids. I visited the Au Sable Institute near Coupeville, two locations in Deception Pass State Park, Hoypus Hill and Goose Rock, Washington Park near Anacortes and a site in Larrabee State Park. Without identifying specific locations, I found three orchids in bloom, the Western Fairy Slipper, Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis, the Western Spotted Coralroot, Corallorhiza maculata var. occidentalis, and the Striped Coralroot, Corallorhiza striata. The Fairy Slippers were near the end of their blooming season, the Striped Coralroots were at their peak and the Spotted Coralroots were just starting to bloom.
I also found at one of these locations a white Fairy Slipper, Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis fma. nivea, and therein lies both a story and the reason why I am no longer publishing locations. We had found a white Fairy Slipper last spring in Washington Park and I had published the fact that I had found it there. Whether that was the impetus or not, I do not know, but someone dug it up, as I discovered when I went back to see it this spring. Thus, both on Flickr and in my blog posts I am no longer going to give specific locations for the orchids I find and will not reveal those locations except to those whom I trust. The white form of the Fairy Slipper is rare in nature and for someone to dig it up is a crime.
And a note about the Fairy Slipper photos. First, as to the white Fairy Slipper, there are faint hints of color that show it to be not quite a pure alba form, but the lack of brown color on the front of the lip and the greenish color at the back of the pouch distinguish it from other pale forms, some of which are also shown below. Second, I tried to show some of the variation in color, both of flowers and lip. The flowers themselves vary from near-white to dark pink and the lips or pouches have more or less brown spotting. Finally, because I've already posted so many pictures of this year's Fairy Slippers I've tried to show some of the detail and to be a bit more creative with my shots.
Western Fairy Slipper
Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis
White Fairy Slipper
Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis fma. nivea
Western Spotted Coralroot