An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Posts tagged “Orchids

Showy Lady’s Slipper

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Classified as imperiled in New Hampshire, vulnerable in Vermont, rare in Maine, endangered in Connecticut and down to 14 sites in all of Massachusetts, the Showy Lady’s Slipper is the highlight of every June for those in the Northeast who are lucky enough to live near a spot where it grows. The rarity of this orchid is attributable to a lack of suitable habitat, as well as the browsing of white-tailed deer. Showy Lady’s Slippers are typically found in fens, a type of wetland which is not as acidic as a bog. Because it reproduces mostly by underground rhizomes (even though one flower may produce a half-million seeds), it often occurs in clumps, giving the false impression that Showy Lady’s Slippers are abundant. According to Minnesota’s Dept. of Natural Resources, where Showy Lady’s Slipper is the state flower (but also very rare), it has a long life span — some may live as long as 100 years.


Rattlesnake Plantains

Rattlesnake plantains get their name from their rosette of broad, egg-shaped leaves, which are similar in shape to those of plantain, a common lawn weed. Although they are called plantains, they are actually orchids.  There are four species of rattlesnake plantains in New England, and the differences between them are subtle.  The pictured checkered rattlesnake plantain (Goodyera tesselata) has leaves with soft green markings, whereas the other three species have silver-white central stripes and/or markings.  Sometimes the species hybridize, making identification challenging.