Friday, July 25, 2014

Cephalanthera austiniae

Cephalanthera austiniae is the only species in that genus to be found in North America and is also the only species in the genus to be mycoheterotrophic, depending on a complex relationship with a soil fungus for its growth, since it has no chlorophyll and only rudimentary leaves.  It is well-named the Phantom Orchid since it is often found on dark forest floors where its lack of color makes it stand out.  It is quite rare and becoming rarer throughout its range, but there are places where is very abundant.

May 31
(Leavenworth area, very near blooming)

June 12
(Columbia River Gorge)

June 23
(Columbia River Gorge)


  1. Excellent! Especially the budding ones -- I've never been around them early enough to see that...

    1. Never quite get used to seeing these on bare forest floors, bare of vegetation, that is. They are nothing short of amazing. By the way I had the privilege of taking a couple from Germon on a three day orchid tour of the state. You're next!