The Deceptive Ways of the Calypso Orchid

In Defense of Plants exposes The Deceptive Ways of the Calypso Orchid. This dainty, charming species grows in northern forests of North America, Europe, and Asia, where it’s pollinated by bumblebees. The bees are attracted by the orchid’s sweet fragrance, yellow hairs on the flower lip which mimic pollen, and nectar spurs. But the yellow hairs have no pollen, and the nectar spurs are empty. Disappointed, the bees quickly learn not to waste time at these blooms. That means Calypsos need naive bees which haven’t been tricked before. And, these insects must be slow learners to get fooled twice: once to pick up pollen, and again to deposit it on another flower. With the Calypso Orchid’s deceptions, it’s a complicated relationship.

Calypso bulbosa, Fairy Slipper flower, North American native orchid species, miniature orchid, growing wild in Southwestern ColoradoCalypso bulbosa, Fairy Slipper flower, North American native orchid species, miniature orchid, growing wild in Southwestern ColoradoCalypso bulbosa var. americana, Fairy Slipper flower, North American native orchid species, miniature orchid, growing wild in Montezuma County, southwestern Colorado, Four Corners region

The photos above show Calypso Orchids growing wild in the mountains of southwest Colorado.

Explore posts in the same categories: Cool Growers, Fragrant Orchids, In the News, Mini Orchids, Orchids in the Wild, Photos

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