Monday, August 26, 2013

Nineteenth and Twentieth Weeks, the Last Weeks of the Native Orchid Season - Bog Orchids and Ladies'-tresses

August 11-24

There will still be a few things blooming in the weeks to come at higher elevations, some Piperias, especially Piperia elongata, as well as some Spiranthes romanzoffiana, but these weeks are going to be the last that I mark with a post.  The two orchids featured were found at Mount Rainier National Park.  We spent several days there and found only these still blooming and these at the highest elevations.

The showiest of the two is Spiranthes romanzoffiana, the Hooded Ladies'-tresses.  We found them at several locations along the Longmire to Paradise Road and exactly where we would have expected to find them, in damp open meadows.  Interestingly, the Spiranthes we found near Paradise at 5400 feet elevation (1645 meters) were very tiny plants, only a couple of inches tall, blooming with Bog Gentians.

We found the other orchid, the Slender Bog Orchis, Platanthera stricta, in the wettest ditches along the way.  This very common orchid is not very showy, perhaps the least so of all our native orchids and probably goes unnoticed by most.  These were still in relatively good shape at the higher elevations where we found them and we said goodbye to the native orchid season with them and with a few photographs.

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