Jun. 17, 2019

bog candles, Platanthera dilatata

The Shiawassee Basin Preserve is a remarkable spot near the headwaters of that river. Mike used to be on staff at Ives Preserve, and now works at Shiawassee. He invited me to tour Shiawassee, and to see the bog candles. Somehow these have eluded me in Michigan. I had only seen them out west. These little not-quite-half-inch flowers are in the genus with fringed orchids. But rather than adapting that decorative approach to pollinator attraction, these use aroma. They have a delightfully spicy clove-like smell that will get you down there sniffing every time. Bog candles grow in bogs and fens in AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT(S), IA, ID, IL, IN(E), MA(E), ME, MI, MN, MT, NH, NM, NV, NY(V), OR, PA(E), RI, SD, UT, VT, WA, WI, WY, through Canada, and on SPM. Oakland Co MI, 6/14/19.