Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Our 2016 native orchid season was considerably abbreviated by a trip to Australia, so we saw only a limited number of the species we usually visit and did not accomplish much of what we had intended for the season. The high point was finding in Washington a species we had seen elsewhere but not in the state, Listera or Neottia borealis, the Northern Twayblade. True to its name we found it in the northernmost parts of the state.
We also looked for and found again some rarities, particularly the natural hybrid of the two varieties of Fairy Slippers, the Eastern and Western Fairy Slippers, Kostiuk's Hybrid Fairy Slipper, Calypso bulbosa x kostiukiae, and the white form of the Western Fairy Slipper, Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis fma. nivea. Both of these were growing where we had found them previously and seemed well established in those locations.
We found some new sites for the Western Fairy Slipper and for the Early Coralroot, Corallorhiza trifida, the latter especially important since it is not common in the state of Washington. These sites were on both sides of the Cascades and proof that the species is adaptable and quite widely distributed, though it is here near the southern end of its range, being much more common as one moves to the north.
We missed a lot of species, however, and will have to look for some of them next year. As always are plans are to look for new locations and to find in the state of Washington the species we have not yet seen there, especially Dactylorhiza viride var. virescens, the Long-bracted Green Orchis, and Platanthera obtusata var. obtusata, the Blunt-leaved Rein Orchis, and we have locations for both within the state.