Talk about Delayed Gratification! (Twayblade Orchid)

I’ve been waiting a whole year to see this flower.

twayblade orchid flower
Closer view of the orchid flower.

When I first found the plant last summer there was only the two leaves. Without seeing a flower, it’s hard to positively identify a plant, unless that plant has something about the foliage (or some other distinguishing characteristic, like scent, bark pattern, or root appearance) to nail its identity.

Ginseng is like that – the leaf size and arrangement is unique to that plant, and the root with next year’s immature bud will do the identification trick.

But now I can say for sure that the little plant I found last year is Lily-leaved Twayblade Orchid (Liparis liliifolia). There’s a whole stand of them in the cedar grove.

Lily-leaved Twayblade Orchid (Liparis liliifolia)
Lily-leaved Twayblade Orchid (Liparis liliifolia)

The Lily-leaved Twayblade Orchids (try saying that quickly) grow in a cedar grove here at Wild Ozark. The ground is shady and moist year-round and reindeer moss grows in patches in the area. Green moss commonly found on north-facing slopes is common there as well. It is indeed on a north-facing slope, but the incline is not steep. Lousewort also grows in the vicinity. There’s a fair amount of clay in the soil, and with all the cedars I’m sure it’s on the acid side of pH, as well.

These flowered in late May. The leaves and flower stalks must grow quickly because I had just checked for them last week and they had not appeared yet.

30 May 2015

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