Two wild orchids


We have a number of wild orchids, but they grow at different times. The fairy slipper has come and gone, but the lady’s slipper presented itself today. Although I said there were two wild orchids, the fairy slipper comes in two varieties, eastern and western, and we get both.

Orchids are easily distinguished from other flowers by their bilateral symmetry and (usually) one highly modified petal.

The fairy slipper, which proliferates in May comes in two varieties, eastern and western. The eastern which comes first has (among its features) yellow fake stamens.

The western fairy slipper has white fake stamens.

The lady’s slipper is with us at the moment.


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7 Responses to Two wild orchids

  1. Mary Williams says:

    Love the slippers! Thanks for sharing pictures and knowledge

  2. Karen Pidcock says:

    THANKS so much for showing both, since I didn’t know that Calypso Orchids came in western & eastern varieties, and only saw one in bloom this May. No Moccasin flower seen at all yet. I know where they grow though…if I could get off my knees gardening long enough to drive towards Cooper Creek.

    • Ed McMackin says:

      The moccasin flower you speak of I assume is the (white) Mountain Ladyslipper (Cypripedium montanum). In the south Kootenay Lake Region, it occurs frequently and is expected to bloom in the last half of June. It is a delight to see when it is found.
      Did you find some good photos of Western White Trillium (Trillium ovatum) ? I neglected to mention, if you just do a Google search for White Trillium photo you will likely see lots.

  3. Vicki says:

    Photo’d four of the eastern in the forest near the house, 2 weeks ago. They’re in a new spot, while the one I saw in a different spot a couple years is no longer there.

    We have a ton of bog orchids in summer, at the river’s edge, and on the edge of the lawn that tall skinny red one with the little flowers on it is a few inches high now. I have it surrounded by rocks so it won’t get weed-wacked like last year. Still, it’s come up again, but this time as a threesome, and another close by. Can you remind me what it’s name is?

    • Ed McMackin says:

      I think I missed a detail in your comment – “tall skinny red one”. So, I could be a way off in my first comment. I don’t know of an orchid “proper” that is red. However, there are a couple of tall skinny plants in the Orchid Family that might fit that and they are two of the “coralroots”. The Striped Coralroot can be very red, pinky-red.

  4. Ed McMackin says:

    You might be speaking of the White Bog-orchid. It is tall and slender and can have up to 50 or 60 flowers. I sometimes refer to it as the “fragrant bog-orchid” as it has a powerful fragrant aroma and when plentiful the aroma can be picked up 1000 feet distant. The aroma of the Green-flowered Bog-orchid is not as impressive.
    Does that fit your flower?

  5. Vicki says:

    Hi Ed, yes, it’s the Striped Coralroot. There are 4 of them getting taller by the day, now, at the shady end of the lawn, under a Japanese maple. I’m so happy that it/ they grew back after being weed wacked last year. They’re concealed in a huge amount of hawkweed.

    The white bog orchids are along the bank of the river below the house, mostly on the swampy edge after the spring freshet has subsided. They’re very beautiful and fragrant, and there are a LOT of them.

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