Submitted by Chris sydney on Tue, 10/07/2012 - 13:38
Score: 9.6, Votes: 5
I found this species growing around the inner city suburbs of Boston, USA. I was quite surprised at first to see orchids growing so close to the city center. I came across it by accident. On my walk to work, I usually pay attention to the gardens and plants. One day I noticed this plant under a bush, and decided to have a closer look only to notice it was flowering. I knew it was an orchid, and decided to do some research.
This species is not indigenous to North America. It was introduced from Europe in the 19th century and has since then occupied a vast area. Many states in the USA report the species in the wild and urban areas; in fact it is considered by some an invasive species - and I hate to use the term, but yes, a weed!
It grows as a terrestrial, in semi-shaded and shaded positions. The rhizomes (or elongated tubercles) are very deep within the soil, and new growth emerge every spring. Flower spikes appear from the top of the growth in early summer. The spikes are of different heights (from 10 to about 40cm), the taller spikes having more flowers. The flowers are about 1.5 cm across and have a subtle sweet scent and auto-pollinate quite easily.
I came across this colony on a relatively busy street in Boston, in the front garden of a building. After paying more attention, I have seen them in many other locations, but this colony in particular had some very pretty looking spikes that were worth photographing.
I have a theory as to why they are so abundant in the gardens. Most people here like to use mulch in their gardens as a way to promote better soils with more humus. The bark contained within the mulch mixtures serves as a good substrate for mycorrhiza to develop, which in turn allows for a large amount of orchid seed germination and prolific spreading of the species.
It is intriguing to see these small orchids growing in most gardens, and receiving very little attention by people passing-by. They are definitely worthy of such and I think the flowers are quite pretty, having different tones of green and pink in the sepals and petals. There is an unusually dark pouch in the labellum that appears to contain curious dark, shiny lumpy-looking structures.
Pictures were taken with sigma DP2, some with and some without flash.
Score: 9.6, Votes: 5