Let’s shy away from the more common species of orchids and visit a rare orchid closer to home. There are actually lots of orchids native to North America, but this one particularly caught my eye especially while reading this article about how native orchids can be great additions to your gardens. The flower mentioned was the Galearis spectabilis, or more commonly known as the Showy Orchis.
The Showy Orchis is a low growing orchid with long basal leaves. The flower is quite beautiful and simplistic. It has two parts. The upper part is composed of a sepal and a petal joining to form a kind of hood which is in the color of lavender or pink. The lower part forms the lip of the flower.
It’s usually white to greenish white in color. The contrast created by this color combination is quite striking. That is where it gets its name “showy”. Although in some of the states, its other population is less colorful than those found in the Cumberland Plateau and Blue Ridge regions.
The flowers grow about an in inch tall, while the total plant reaches 5 to 12 inches in height.
This flower usually grows in rich deciduous woods and lush woodlands common to Michigan and New England. They also grow near spring ponds in sandy loam soils and shadier places amongst other native North American flowers.
These orchids usually bloom from mid-May to June. It grows in small colonies and will less likely be found growing with other plants. It is protected in the wild and would have to be disturbed when found. It is currently stated as one of species of native orchids that is threatened.
This naturally occurring native orchid is only one of the few orchids that are currently threatened in the wild because of its beauty. I hope that when people see it, they will leave it be and appreciate its beauty from afar.
Are they any native orchids in your state? Share them with us and leave a comment below.
For orchids you can easily grow that are not endangered, here are the more common orchid types.