An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Showy Orchis Flowering

6-1-18 showy orchis2_U1A4935

Showy Orchis (Galearis spectabilis), one of the earliest orchids to bloom in the spring, produces a short stalk that rises between two large, glossy, green leaves and bears between two and fifteen flowers. A hood of pink to deep lavender sepals and petals protects the reproductive flower parts; the lower petal is white and spurred, providing a landing pad as well as nectar at the tip of the spur for visiting bumblebees (their main pollinators), butterflies and moths.

Like other orchids, Showy Orchis produces small seeds with no energy reserves. The germinating seedlings need to develop a relationship in their roots with a fungus in order to obtain nutrients for growth. Only certain fungi will develop this relationship, and for Showy Orchis they appear to be only fungi in the genus Ceratobasidium. (Thanks to Erla Youknot and Virginia Barlow for photo ops.)

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9 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Another beauty! And…another flowering plant I’ve never seen. I wish some of these bloomed in our woods.

    June 1, 2018 at 8:06 am

  2. Martha Adams

    Do these grow where you are?

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    June 1, 2018 at 8:45 am

    • They do grow in Hartland – and also in every New England state. Just quite rare in some spots.

      June 1, 2018 at 10:46 am

  3. Gail Platz

    Hi Mary,

    Those are beautiful! I have been photographing native orchids, along with many other flowers, but have never found these. Can you tell me where I might find them? I’d love to see and photograph them.

    Thanks for your wonderful, informative postings!

    Gail Platz

    June 1, 2018 at 9:32 am

    • Hi Gail,
      I’m not sure where you live but you find Showy Orchis in rich, calcareous forests in all New England states. Some places they’re more common than others.

      June 1, 2018 at 10:34 am

  4. Jennifer Waite

    beautiful shot Mary!

    June 1, 2018 at 1:48 pm

  5. Thanks for this! I see these everywhere in Tunbridge when I hike in the spring, and never knew what they were.

    June 1, 2018 at 3:58 pm

  6. Bob Brooks

    Hi Mary This beauteous wood frog spent the whole night on my kitchen door.  Best regards Bob Brooks

    June 2, 2018 at 11:49 am

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