Thursday, August 20, 2015

Twenty-sixth Orchid of the Season and Others

The orchid featured in this post is the Alaskan Piperia, not a common orchid in our area, and in this case a rare dwarf form of the species, Piperia unalascensis fma. olympica.  The species can be as tall as 90 cm but in these are less than 30 cm and are found, as far as I know, only in one location, the top of Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.

Piperia unalascensis var. olympica

We caught them at the very end of their blooming season, though that was very early this year due our early spring and very hot, dry summer.  Most of them, especially those in exposed areas, were finished, but there were a few in more sheltered areas that were still in good form.  We did not find any sign of the normal form of the species, however, at lower elevations.

Along with this species we saw a number of others in the Olympics which we had seen earlier in the year and elsewhere.  These were seen further west of Hurricane Ridgeand included two other Piperias, the Elegant Piperia, Piperia elegans, and the Long-spurred Piperia, Piperia elongata, and the Stream Orchid, Epipactis gigantea, which was almost finished blooming, though very early.

Piperia elegans

Piperia elongata

It should be noted that all the Piperias have recently been reclassified as Platantheras, so these species would be Platanthera unalascensis, Platanthera elegans and Platanthera elongata.  These species were all originally classified as Platantheras or Habenarias, but were moved to a new genus in 1901.  There is still a great deal of disagreement about their classification.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Thel. Appreciate the visit and comments.

  2. Precious species of Piperia that you've photographed. It is true that they remember a little to the European Platantheras, but they are always updating the classification... Best regards

    1. It's hard to keep up with all the reclassifying. Thanks for your kind comments, Angel.