Sunday, March 21, 2010

Calypso bulbosa - Fairy Slipper, a CA native orchid

I went hiking on Mt. Tam a couple of weeks ago because the weather was beautiful and I wanted out of the East Bay. Mt. Tam has some beautiful wildflower displays in the spring, but I knew it was a little early for that. Fortunately, there were some that had already popped up including this rare beauty - Calypso bulbosa aka Fairy Slipper. One of 31 orchids native to California. Who knew?

Here are two orchids just popping out of the ground.
Here one is just getting ready to open.  In the bottom of the photo you can see its one big, dark green leaf.  It appears to be all they have.
 And the fairy slipper in all its beauty.
I saw these the first time 2 years ago and was pleasantly surprised to learn we had orchids here in the Bay Area that weren't indoors and from far away. From my observation they grow in shadier parts of the forest on flat or sloped ground, though they seem to be more common in damper places. Hopefully some are still out there so you can see these for yourselves.

And since nothing seems to say spring like a native forest orchid lit up by tree filtered light, I'm entering the second photo in Gardening Gone Wild's Picture This contest for this month. The theme is Awakening to show the beginning of spring.

8 comments:

  1. How lucky! I'm not sure I've seen that one, though I see stream orchid a lot, and grow it in my garden. Good luck! And BTW, I love the slide show!

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  2. Wow, what a find! Congratulations- you always seem to come across the really good stuff! Good luck in the contest.

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  3. How wonderful! 31 species? Goodness. I had no idea there were so many native to California, and thus far, I've never seen one in the wild. I'll keep looking though! What a lovely find. Best of luck with the photo contest!

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  4. Native orchids in California??? Who knew? Thank you for sharing with us your find and good luck in the contest :-)

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  5. Awesome. I've never seen one before. It's beautiful.

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  6. Wow! So beautiful. Does it have a fragrance?

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  7. My son, who is an 8 year old budding botanist, has searched and searched for a photo of a fairy slipper orchid bud. He has hung yours by his bed to feel calm as he drifts to sleep, but he would love to have a higher resolution image. Possible?

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