Orchid of the Day: Epipactis

It may look like just another orchid, but this blooming Epipactis gigantea is special for a few reasons. Unlike most commonly cultivated orchids, which come from tropical regions, this orchid is a San Francisco native. In fact, it’s native to a wide part of western North America, spanning from SW Canada to NW Mexico, and from California to Texas.

Epipactus gigantea flowersEpipactus gigantea flower

Known as the Stream Orchid or the False Ladyslipper, this Epipactis is not an air plant. It lives in moist soils alongside streams, on cliff faces, and in mountain bogs. The plant goes dormant during winter, re-emerging from underground tubers the next spring.

Epipactus gigantea flower budEpipactus gigantea flower

Many terrestrial orchids are difficult to grow, requiring highly specialized conditions (yet another reason that you should NEVER remove wild orchids from their natural homes.) However Epipactis gigantea is relatively easy to cultivate, and adapts to a wide range of conditions. I keep mine in regular potting soil, and set the pot in a tray of water so it never dries out.

Explore posts in the same categories: Cool Growers, Dormancy, Growing, Orchids in the Wild, Photos, Watering

Subscribe to the About Orchids Blog:
AddThis Feed Button

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Comments on “Orchid of the Day: Epipactis”

  1. Len Says:

    cool pix!

  2. Stephanie Li Says:

    I never realized that some orchids are native to the US and Canada! They all seem to be such exotic tropical flowers, but it’s amazing they can grow so far north.

    The flowers are so pretty. They look like they have a yellow nose and orange tongue

  3. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Native Orchid Conference Says:

    […] see a broad range of North American orchids. There are some great Epipactis photos, like the one I blogged about last year from my own garden. […]

  4. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Summer Garden Says:

    […] Finally, Dave spotted this orchid seedpod on our San Francisco native orchid, Epipactis. I’ve grown this plant for years, but it’s never been pollinated before, […]