We often think of orchids as rare tropical plants that grow on trees. Did you know we have quite a selection of them in Pennsylvania?
The Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania's Wildflowers of Pennsylvania illustrates 37 species in our state. But don't look for them in the trees. Our orchids are terrestrial.
One of them is Nodding Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes cernua) and it's blooming right now. According to Wildflowers of Pennsylvania, "Nodding Ladies' Tresses is usually found as colonies in marshy fields, wet meadows and ditches throughout Pennsylvania."
Dianne and Bob Machesney found this one at Moraine State Park last Sunday. "We found 57, in groups of one, two or three, along a half mile trail in a strip mined area, reclaimed with pines."
The photo above is a close-up of the flower spike; the whole plant is shown below.
Look for Pennsylvania's orchids and you'll find gems close to home.
(photos by Dianne Machesney)