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Old Aug 13, 2013, 8:00 PM   #1
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Default A few wild orchids

Late summer's heat, and this year's unusually high rainfall, have been a real boon to several of our native orchids.

One of our commonest late-season orchids is Rattlesnake Orchis (Goodyera pubescens). It's named for the leaves, which are patterned like snakeskin. Here's a nice peak-bloom sample from up on Unaka Mountain.
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Old Aug 13, 2013, 8:03 PM   #2
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Here's another rather common orchid, especially in the high country. Have seen many Yellow Fringed Orchids (Platanthera ciliaris) this year, at Rocky Fork, on Unaka Mt and on Holston Mt.
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Old Aug 13, 2013, 8:08 PM   #3
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Just one more - I saved the strangest for last...

Crested Coralroot (Hexalectris spicata) is an odd little orchid. The plant spends most of its life as an underground root. The root feeds on a certain fungus, which is a parasite on the roots of nearby plants. Crested Coralroot never grows any leaves. But every few years, when it has stored up enough food, and when conditions are wet enough, it sends up a stalk of these odd little flowers. This particular plant last bloomed about three years ago...
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Old Aug 13, 2013, 8:09 PM   #4
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Hope you enjoyed these little blooms, and that you will share your comments & critique!
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Old Aug 13, 2013, 8:49 PM   #5
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Yes indeed, I did enjoy, brings back memories, Mum and Dad loved and collected orchids.

Thank you for sharing.
Rodney
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Old Aug 14, 2013, 7:41 PM   #6
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Wonderful photos Mole. I have never heard of crested coralroot, and it certainly has an unusual life cycle! My favorite photo of this series is the last -- I love the misty sunset and the reflection in the water.
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Old Aug 15, 2013, 8:03 PM   #7
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Rodney - So glad these brought back some good memories for you!

MtnMan - Thanks! Crested Coralroot is not found in New England according to the official records: http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=hesp3
Last image is one of my favorites too, a quick snapshot at the home park on the way to work one recent morning...
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