We were out for several hours at Mount Rainier National Park on Saturday, March 30, with the Washington Native Orchid Society. We did not have time for sightseeing but visited a number of locations looking for native orchids. We found three, two that we had seen already this season and one that we had not yet seen and that is rather rare in the state.
The Early Coralroot, Corallorhiza trifida, was the latest addition to this season's sightings. We found around a dozen stems in an area where we had found this species before. Growing with them we found a few Western Fairy Slippers, Calypso bulbosa var., occidentalis, as well as a few of the reddish form of the Heart-leaved Twayblade, Listera cordata var. nephrophylla.
At another site and a higher elevation we found hundreds of Fairy Slippers and quite a few more Heart-leaved Twayblades, this time mostly the all-green form. The green form is Listera cordata var. nephrophylla, and the reddish form is forma rubescens. We looked for white Fairy Slippers in the area but did not find any, though we had seen them there before.
The Early Coralroot is the smallest of the Coralroots in our area, usually less than 30 cm tall with 1 cm flowers. This species ranges across the northern USA and Canada and is found in Europe and Asia as well. The North American Twayblades have all been reclassified as Neottias, so what we saw is more correctly, Neottia cordata var. nephrophylla.
Heart-leaved Twayblade, green form
Listera cordata var. nephrophylla
Heart-leaved Twayblade, reddish form
Listera cordata var. nephrophylla fma. rubescens
Western Fairy Slipper
Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis