On a local wildflower walk, orchids are not encountered nearly as often as, say, lilies.

Not only is a particular species of orchid not all that easy to find, but there are rather fewer species to descry. Eflora, eflora.bc.ca, lists 39 species of wild orchid found in BC. The book, Plants of the Southern Interior of British Columbia (Lone Pine, Vancouver, 1996) lists eighteen. Perhaps a dozen of these are found locally. The situation is very different worldwide: orchid species are twice as numerous as bird species. By way of contrast, locally we see about three–hundred species of birds.

Illustrated below are seven local orchids: mountain lady’s slipper; yellow lady’s slipper; fairy slipper; rattlesnake plantain; giant helleborine, striped coralroot, and the white-reign orchid.

giant helleborineThe giant helleborine or stream orchid (Epipactis gigantea) is not all that easy to find. Yet, this was one of perhaps a hundred at the top of a deserted beach.

giant hellebeborineA giant helleborine owes its name more to the height of its stalks than the size of its flowers.

fairy slipperA fairy slipper was found high on a mountain slope.

fairy slipperThe fairy slipper or calypso orchid (Calypso bulbosa) is inconspicuous on the forest floor below conifers. Indeed, the word, calypso, is a Greek word meaning, hidden.

yellow lady's slipperA yellow lady’s slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum) was seen close to the lakeshore. The slipper-shaped pouches of these orchids temporarily trap insects, which then fertilize the flower as they climb out.

lady slipperThe yellow lady’s slipper has broad lance–shaped leaves.

mountain lady’s slipperThe most striking difference between these mountain lady’s slippers and the yellow lady’s slippers is flower colour.

mountain lady's slipperAlbeit not all that common around here, these mountain lady’s slippers (Cypripedium montanum Dougl. ex Lindl.) were seen near the lakeshore. They were adjacent to the yellow lady’s slippers.

striped coralrootThe striped coralroot (Corallorhiza striata) is a species of orchid which, lacking chlorophyl, obtains nutrients from fungi in the ground.

striped coralrootAnother view of the flowers of the striped coralroot.

white rein-orchidThis appears to be a yet–to–open white rein–orchid (Platanthera dilitata).

rattlesnake plantainRattlesnake plantain (Goodyera pubescens) at Kokanee Creek Park. The stalk is covered with lovely, but small flowers.

rattlesnake plantainThese are the leaves of the Rattlesnake plantain. The word, plantain (maiming foot) describes the position of the leaves at the base of the flower stock. The white line was thought to resemble the pattern of a snake skin.

Another view of the tiny flowers of the rattlesnake plantain.

Information from Wikipedia: Orchids.

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