Native Colorado Orchids in Bloom

Calypso bulbosa var. americana, Fairy Slipper flower, North American native orchid species, miniature orchid, growing wild in Montezuma County, southwestern Colorado, Four Corners regionCalypso bulbosa var. americana, Fairy Slipper flower, North American native orchid species, miniature orchid, growing wild in Montezuma County, southwestern Colorado, Four Corners regionCalypso bulbosa var. americana, Fairy Slipper flower, close up of flower lip, North American native orchid species, miniature orchid, growing wild in Montezuma County, southwestern Colorado, Four Corners region

Orchids are not just denizens of the tropics; they live almost everywhere in the world. Even the high elevations of Colorado’s Four Corners region host many native species. Two of them are shown here: the Fairy Slipper, or Calypso bulbosa, and the Bog Orchid, or Platanthera. My mother-in-law took these photos in early July while she was hiking in the Colorado Plateau.

Calypso bulbosa var. americana, Fairy Slipper flower, North American native orchid species, miniature orchid, growing wild in Montezuma County, southwestern Colorado, Four Corners regionBog Orchid, Platanthera orchid, North American native orchid species, growing wild in Montezuma County, southwestern Colorado, Four Corners regionBog Orchid, close-up of Platanthera orchid flower, North American native orchid species, growing wild in Montezuma County, southwestern Colorado, Four Corners region

Fairy Slippers are native to┬áCanada, the northern USA, northern Europe, and northern Asia. They’re some of the most colorful little orchids in their cool forests, with bright pink, yellow, and white blossoms.

I’m not sure which type of Bog Orchid shows in the final five pictures because they mostly have buds, and not many flowers are open. There are several species of Platanthera local to the area, and they can be tough to distinguish. They lack the charming colors of the Fairy Slippers, but have tall clusters of small, fascinating blooms. For a detailed look at native Colorado varieties, check out the North American Native Orchid Journal.

Photos courtesy of Brenda Hogue.

Bog Orchid, Platanthera orchid, North American native orchid species, growing wild in Montezuma County, southwestern Colorado, Four Corners regionBog Orchid, Platanthera orchid, North American native orchid species, growing wild in Montezuma County, southwestern Colorado, Four Corners regionBog Orchid, Platanthera orchid, North American native orchid species, growing wild in Montezuma County, southwestern Colorado, Four Corners region

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