Friday, April 25, 2014

Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis fma. nivea

While orchid hunting recently we found two all-white Fairy Slippers, the albino or alba form of the species and its western variety.  They are, therefore, Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis fma. nivea.  It is easy to think that one has found this form since all the Fairy Slippers fade and turn nearly white when they are finished blooming, and there are very pale forms of the species that are nearly white, but the obvious difference is the color on the back of the lip or pouch, brownish purple in all but the pure white form and yellowish-green in that form.  We found only two this season in different places after finding four last season, but one was nearly finished when we found it.  We made several trips to see and photograph them.

April 21 and 22


  1. Congrats. I looked but did not find
    The one looks like it should have put on a bit of sunscreen
    Leaving Friday for Provence and Cornwall. Hoping for great flower action

    1. Not as many as last year, but still worth finding, though the one needed some help. Just back from the gorge. Not Provence or Cornwall, but still a very good trip. Saw a great patch of Cyp. fasciculatum.

  2. Wow... those are very neat. I love the white form of the Calypso. Well done!

    6 weeks to go until we're start our US-adventure. :-)

    @Upupaepops: The Provence should be lots of fun especially if you are looking into native orchids. Lots and lots of species there. A good place especially for Ophrys. Hope you have fun!

    1. When we go out looking for Calypsos then we always look for these but they are very rare, only 5 or 6 found among the thousands we've seen.

      I am as eager as you are, Martin, to show you some of our native species and hope the weather cooperates.