Thursday, September 7, 2017

Native Orchid

I enjoy walking through our native prairie landscape that we have allowed to grow in an area between between our house and the road.


There are hundreds varieties of flowers and grasses out there.  Pictured above are clumps of bluestem grass and a variety of goldenrod called "Rigid Goldenrod".  But, those are not what this post is about.

A couple of days ago I noticed these small white flowers as I was walking out there.  


The flowers grew in a spiral design around the stem.  I fell in love with the little plant and immediately started trying to identify it.  I didn't have much luck on my own, so I posted a picture of it on a Facebook group called Oklahoma Native Plant Society.  Someone there quickly identified it as a native orchid called Ladies Tresses.  

Here's a picture that shows how the flowers spiral around the stem.


And a closer one of the delicate little flowers.


The stem appears to grow right out of the ground without any leaves.


What I've learned from the web is that the leaves of some varieties die before the plant flowers.  So, it must have had leaves at some point.  

This variety is Spiranthes lacera gracilis.  I found a lot of good information about orchids on this site:  North American Orchids

I'm delighted to know that orchids are not limited to the ones you see in greenhouses and that I have them growing in my own yard!  And to think that I've probably walked right by these little beauties many times and never noticed them!  The moral of this story is "Take time to go outside everyday and notice the wonderful plants and animals all around you". 

Sometimes you just need to look down.