Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Orchids of Indiana

I promised a much more pleasant post and I hope this one will fit the bill. In the last couple of months, I have done a lot of hiking and one of my goals on some of my trips were to view some of the beautiful orchids that live here in Indiana and Ohio. Many of my friends and family have remarked that they did not know that orchids lived in Indiana, but thought they were only found in remote places such as rainforests and jungles. Actually, Indiana has more than forty native orchid species and there is even a book out called Orchids of Indiana. Here are a few of the orchids I have seen in May and June.

Yellow Lady's Slipper, Cypripedium calceolus, blooms in late-April to mid-June. It can be found in mesic to dry-mesic forests and favors slopes facing east and west. I love the egg-yolk colored blossom. Looks like a dainty shoe fit for a fairy princess.

Pink Lady's Slipper, Cypripedium acaule, blooms late April to mid-June. Found mostly in northern Indiana. In Indiana the plant is primarily a bog plant, found associated with sphagnum moss and shaded areas. In other regions, they can be found in dry upland soils associated with conifer and oak forests. This picture was taken at Shawnee State Forest in southern Ohio.

Showy Lady's Slipper, Cypripedium reginae, blooms early June to early July. Mostly found in northern Indiana, this beauty can be found in Hamilton County. It likes shady "mucky" areas that typically occur in fens, where there is a constant supply of groundwater or seepage to keep the soil temperature somewhat cool.

Grass-Pink Orchid, Calapogon tuberosa, blooms mid-May to late July. Calapogon means "beautiful beard". Found mostly in northern Indiana. Like the Showy Lady's Slipper, it also likes mucky soils, but can be found in open, sunny places instead of shade. This one is my personal favorite. Since it was in the open sun, the color from my photo is a little off. It is actually a deep rich pink. What a stunning plant!

It always amazes me the beauty one can find in nature if you just take the time to look. I like the quote from Rachel Carson, "Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life." I do feel nature can rejuvenate me when I have had a rough or particularly trying day. Hoping all of you can take some time, take a walk and enjoy the beauty of nature.


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