Nature Notes

Volume III No. 1 - July, 1930

By F. Lyle Wynd

"Is that a real orchid?"

"Yes, a real orchid, and eight other kinds also grow in Crater Lake National Park."


Orchids have so long been known to the public as queer exotic things in the windows of expensive floral shops that the tourist is very often amazed to find that many different kinds grow in the woods. Many of these native species, while not so large and showy as the cultivated forms, are as beautiful as those sold for a very high price by the florist. Each has the characteristic shape of flower and delicate coloring that has made the orchid the most admired flower in the world.

In Crater Lake Park there are nine species of native orchids, belonging to six different genera.

The Mertens' Coral Root and the Spotted Coral Root are very common in the Hemlock woods of the Hudsonian Life Zone. These two species are thought to hybridize among themselves, which gives rise to many variable forms.

The Northwestern Twayblade is a delicate greenish flower also rather common. It has the widest range of any orchid in the Park, being found in considerable numbers in the Lodgepole Pine forest and the Hemlock forest.

The Slender Bog-orchid, the Boreal Bog-orchid, and the White-flowered Bog orchid form a closely related group. The first named species has green flowers, while the latter two are white. They grow along the streams and in swampy places throughout the park area.

The Alaska Piperia is an inhabitant of the Yellow Pine forest of the lower altitude. It has greenish-white flowers arranged in a long terminal spike.

The Hooded Ladies' tresses, having a short spike of pearly white flowers, is one of the rarer species of this region. It prefers the mossy streamside of the Lodgepole Pine forest.

Only this season another orchid was found by the writer. It is commonly known as the Rattlesnake Plantain. Its flowers are very inconspicuous, and one would scarcely recognize it as being an orchid. It was found in the Hemlock forest near Anna Springs.

Yes, there are real native orchids in the Park, nine different species, eight of which as beautiful as any cultivated varieties, except for their smaller size.

For those technically inclined, we include here the scientific names with their common name equivalents:

Corallorhiza mertensiana Bong. - Merten's Coral Root
Corallorhiza maculata Raf. - Spotted Coral Root
Ophrys Courina (Piper) Rydb - Northwestern Tway Blade
Limnorchis stricta (Lindl) Rydb - Slender Bog-orchid
Limnorchis dilatata (Pursh) Rydb - Boreal Bog-orchid
Limnorchis leucostachys (Lindl) Rydb - White flowered Bog-orchid
Piperia unalaschensis (Spreng.) Rydb - Alaska Piperia
Ibidium romanzoffianum (Cham. and Schl) House - Wooded Ladies' Tresses
Goodyera Menziesii - Rattlesnake Plaintain

rattlesnake plantain

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