Saturday, July 6, 2013

Michgan Fens, Michigan Wild Orchids

One of the most interesting trips that Marie and I have taken recently, was in mid June 2013.  We explored a new place, quite secluded - with water, mud, and lots of wildflowers, just the way I like places to be.  We found an orchid called Grass Pink blooming and it was a real treat.
Grass Pink Orchid (Calopogon tuberosus)
It is wild, native, and beautiful.
A brilliant pink to pale purple cluster of 2 to 10 flowers, standing 4 to 22 inches tall.  What a sight on the somewhat pale background of the marl fen. 

We also saw many Showy Lady's Slipper another orchid that thrives here.  These are large (8 to 36 inches), showy, orchids with rough leaves that are heavily veined. 
 Showy Lady's Slipper (Cyripedium reginaw) Orchid Family

And one more orchid
 Loesel's Twayblade (Liparis loeselii).  This orchid is small and easily hidden, being a yellow green color, it blends well with nearby plants.  I have found this orchid at Bass River Recreation Area also.
Loesel's Twayblade

We also saw hundreds of Pitcher Plants flowering.  Plants are 12 to 20 inches tall, flowers solitary. The colors range from deep purple to red, green, and yellow.
              Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea)
The structure of the flower is so unique, below is a look inside.
Then there are the leaves of this fascinating plant.  Leaves are 4-10 inches long, usually purple veined, lined on the inside with downward pointing hairs. Pitcher plants are carnivorous plants.

 A wonderful place, and a wonderful day.


Anonymous said...

Wow! those are some finds, and very good photos! I'm going to have to look down more often instead of looking for birds all the time.

Anonymous said...

This is your best post yet. I know we do wildflowering different now, researching first, figuring out what we are looking for, and where we are most likely to find it. But it doesn't take away from the thrill of seeing these plants for the first time. You capture that excitement in your photos! M :)

New hampshire Gardener said...

The orchids are beautiful! I'm surprised by how much the leaves and stems of the showy lady's slippers look like false hellebore. Without the flowers you could hardly tell them apart. You're lucky to live in a place that has so many orchids!

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thanks, Jerry. We saw several birds in this quiet place but they move too fast for me. I did get a nice shot of a dragonfly with a drop of rain on its back. I was tipped off as to where to find the orchids by Bob at Stormhorn blog.

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thanks, Marie. Yes sometimes lately we do hunt down a wildflower.
Thanks to Bob at Stormhorn.
I wouldn't be having all this fun if it wasn't for you. Changes are in the air, but I hope we will be able to keep up our adventures. I really look forward to them each week, and I don't mind your chattiness at all!

Plants Amaze Me said...

Yes they are beautiful, just out there blooming. I had that same thought that the leaves of the Showy Lady's Slipper look somewhat like your pictures of False Hellebore. I've heard you can get a rash from the leaves and flowers of the Showy Lady's Slipper.
It is fun to find the orchids, especially in places that are so untouched.

Storm said...

Wonderful post! Barry County is full of fens, but that location is one of the best. It was even lovelier before beetles took out all the older tamaracks. They used to ring the lake like an emerald necklace. You really captured the place with your photos. I love the showy ladyslipper at the foot of the poison sumac. :-) No getting away from that stuff over there.

I didn't realize that Loessel's twayblade was there. From the photo, it looks like it likes to hang with the pitcher plants. I need to find that one.

Plants Amaze Me said...

Thanks, Storm, it was because of you we got to visit that wonderful place! We did notice all the tamaracks, and several small healthy ones growing at the edge of the marl flat. I would have liked seeing it before the beetles did their damage.
You were right about the poison sumac, it is everywhere.

We found the Loesel's Twayblade, hidden in a few places. We also found it at Bass River Recreation Area here in Ottawa County. It is so very tiny and difficult to photograph.

If you ever want to share more fun fens just drop me an email ( I truly appreciate your help.

Mike said...

Grass Pink! Very nice. Loesel's Twayblade is a nice find, too. We saw a Showy Ladyslipper the other day over 4 feet tall in northern Leelanau county.

Plants Amaze Me said...

We checked on the Grass Pink this week, it is all done. So is the Showy Ladyslipper and we just couldn't find the Loesel's Twayblade again.
We did find Sticky False-asphodel(Tofieldia glutinosa), and many blooming sundew.