Saturday, June 4, 2016

Three Orchids along the Thunder Creek Trail

Saturday, May 21, was a hike at Thunder Creek with the Washington Native Orchid Society.  We went to see the Western Fairy Slippers, Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis, but they were all finished.  We found two Twayblades, the Northwestern Twayblade, Neottia banksiana, also known as Neottia caurina, and the Heart-leaved Twayblade, Neottia cordata var. cordata, but it was nearly finished blooming.  The star of the show was the Western or Merten's Coralroot, Corallorhiza mertensiana, which we saw in a variety of colors including some very pale forms.  Actually we saw a fourth orchid as well, the Western Spotted Coralroot, Corallorhiza maculata var. occidentalis, but we were near the end of the hike and the battery in my camera was dead, so I did not get pictures.

Northwestern Twayblade
Neottia banksiana (caurina)

Heart-leaved Twayblade
Neottia cordata var. cordata

Western Coralroot
Corallorhiza mertensiana

Western Coralroot (pale form)
Corallorhiza mertensiana fma. pallida


  1. I spotted what I am guessing is the western coralroot along the Thunder Creek Trail the first weekend in June. It was purple-ish, just a short ways up the trail past the first bridge over Thunder Creek. There were a couple stalks that a hiker we passed said to look out for because she thought it was asparagus! So we looked and realized it was the orchid just coming up. Thanks for confirming what we saw! I was there with the North Cascades Institute for an old growth forest hike. Blogged about it on my blog Pacific Northwest Seasons. Happy trails!

    1. Hi Jill! I think I remember seeing those same plants in that area and they sound like C. mertensiana also. Thanks for looking up my blog and commenting.

  2. What a lovely blog! So many great pictures :) I googled "calypso bulbosa" and ended up here. Hopefully we will make a road trip through Canada next year and I would really love to see a calypso then... it's been kind of a dream of mine since I was a litte kid.

    Greetings from Sweden!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Karin. Hope you get to see some Calypsos in Canada next year. If you ever get to Washington we could show you some here.