Thursday, July 24, 2008

Urban orchids

I went back to the lakeshore tonight to look for the orchids that I found this past fall when they had gone to seed. Sure enough, there are a few patches of wild orchids just coming into bloom now. We were there close to sunset tonight and the ants were feeding and getting trapped inside the flowers. I am not sure yet what species of orchid this is, but it is likely Epipactis helliborine. If you look closely enough at the first picture, you can see an ant inside the flower. The third picture shows four plants with many unopened flowers.

For comparison purposes, here is an Epipactis helliborine I found in Victoria three summers ago, also growing in the city.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rose pogonia orchid?

While hiking out to the cliffs of Georgian Bay at the end of May, we passed this little wildflower growing in lowland boggy areas along the trail. I wondered if it might be an orchid and it turns out that it is! Rose pogonia (Pogonia ophioglossoides) is a native orchid also known as snakemouth.

However, I have just done a little bit more research and now I wonder if this is not an orchid but a member of the milkwort family called Fringed Polygala. It was growing very low to the ground and I think that Rose pogonia is taller (6-8 inches). Also, the flower we saw had only three petals. Alas, I think I was foiled, but now I will have to watch for Rose pogonia orchid on future outings!