Sunday, June 2, 2019

More Wild Orchids

Pink lady's slipper orchids, Cypripedium acaule, bloom in the New Jersey Pine Barrens from early May to mid-June. That's now! Here are a few I saw on May 18th.                    Click to enlarge.
They are also called moccasin flowers.
They grow in association with a fungus that enables germination and provides nutrients to the plant. Once the plant is established it returns the favor by providing nutrients to the fungus.
Individual plants can live for 20 years and longer in the wild.  Once you find some, you can visit the same spot every spring to see them.
The lady's slipper flower smells good to bees and the big pouch has a slit in the front that allows a bee to enter. Once inside, hairs direct the bee to an upper exit that requires squeezing past a pollen mass. Tricky!

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