Orchids grow all over the world, not just in the tropics. High in the mountains, canyons, and plateaus of Southwest Colorado, many remarkable native orchid species thrive, despite the harsh conditions. Dave’s mother lives in the Four Corners area of Colorado, and, like her son, has a great photographic eye. She and her hiking pals have been kind enough to share their wildflower pictures. First, here’s the charming miniature Calypso orchid, also known as the Fairy Slipper. It’s native to much of the northern USA, Canada, northern Europe, and northern Asia.
The next six photos show some fascinating Corallorhizas. These strange orchid species don’t have chlorophyll, but take all their nutrients from fungi which feed on decaying plant debris. Growing near Ponderosa Pines, at elevations above 7000 feet (2134 m,) their colorful flower stalks sprout from the forest floor.
In the last row of photos, there are two more Colorado natives: the Rattlesnake Orchid and the Stream Orchid. The Rattlesnake Orchid, or Goodyera, is a jewel orchid with variegated leaves. The Stream Orchid in the last shot is the same Epipactis species that I’ve grown in California. It’s native to a wide range of western North America, from Canada through Mexico. What a joy to see the Steam Orchid and other natives thriving in their mountain homes! Stream Orchid photo courtesy of Bill Lemons. All other photos courtesy of Brenda Hogue.
Learn more about native Colorado orchids at swcoloradowildflowers.com.