Mar. 31, 2017

purple fringed orchid, Platanthera psycodes

What happened after the buckthorn was killed at Ives Fen Preserve? The recovery of native plants was amazing. In each area as we worked, the natives were back no later than the next season. It has not been unusual to see plants we didn't know were there before buckthorn. Purple fringed orchid is one of those wonderful surprises. Its purple spires are scattered through the south fens. The plants are about two feet tall, with flower spikes up to about six inches. I make a trip to see it every year. The individual flowers are about a half inch across. Note the spurs that project behind the flowers. Pollination is by moths that can stick their long tongues down these to get nectar. This grows in fens and bogs in CT, DE, GA, IA(T), IL(E), IN(R), KY(E), MA, MD(X), ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NY(V), OH(E), PA, RI(S), SC, TN(T), VA, VT, WI, WV, MB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, and SPM. Lenawee Co MI, 8/9/14