Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Twenty-first Orchid of the Season and Others

We have three Spiranthes species in Washington.  Two are very rare and one of those is on the endangered list, but his species, Spiranthes romanzoffiana, the Hooded Ladies'-tresses, is very common.  This year, however, we have not seen very many of them, due, I am sure, to the hot dry weather we've been experiencing.  The species likes a sunny situation but in wet meadows and seeps and those are all dried up this year.  One location we visited had no plants at all, and the place where these were photographed had far fewer than normal and those were past their prime at least two weeks earlier than normal.  This Spiranthes can be very shot, sometimes less than 6 cm, though it can be much taller.

In the same area of the North Cascades where we photographed the Spiranthes, we also photographed two other orchids that like wet boggy areas, Platanthera dilatata var. leucostachys, the Sierra Rein Orchis, and Plathanthera stricta, the Slender Bog Orchis.  They were growing in an area that was slightly more protected from the sun and also somewhat wetter due to springs and seeps.  The Sierra Rein Orchis differs from two other varieties in having a spur that is longer than the lip.  The Slender Bog Orchis, oine of most common orchids is distinguished by a short spur that is inflated at the end and by a narrow straight-sided lip.  Both of these species can be quite tall, 90-100 cm.

Spiranthes romanzoffiana

Platanthera stricta

Platanthera dilatata var. leucostachys

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