Volume 4 June Number 2 1998 a quarterly devoted to the orchids of North America published by the



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The Pink Lady's-slipper in the Fragmented Forest of Central Virginia Orchid Hunting in Florida During January and February Picture Perfect Orchids What Ever Happened To All Those Spiranthes?!……..and more!

(ISSN 1084-7332) published quarterly in March June September December by the

a group dedicated to the conservation and promotion of our native orchids Editor: Paul Martin Brown Assistant Editor: Nathaniel E. Conard Editorial Consultants: Philip E. Keenan Stan Folsom Production Assistant: Nancy A. Webb The Journal welcomes articles, of any length, of both a scientific and general interest nature relating to the orchids of North America. Scientific articles should conform to guidelines such as those in Lindleyana or Rhodora. General interest articles and notes may be more informal. Authors may include line drawings, and/or black and white photographs. Color inserts may be arranged. Please send all inquiries or material for publication to the Editor at PO Box 772121, Ocala, FL 34477-2121 (mid June August: PO Box 759, Acton, ME 04001-0759). 1999 Membership in the North American Native Orchid Alliance, which includes a subscription to the Journal, is $26 per year for United States addresses, $29US in Canada and $32US other foreign countries. Payment should be sent to Nancy A. Webb, 84 Etna St. Brighton, MA 02135-2830 USA. Claims for lost issues or cancelled memberships should be made within 30 days.

Volume 4 Number 2 June 1998


Shirley A. Curtis 119



Prepublication Announcement: Wild Orchids Across North America
Unless otherwise credited, all drawings in this issue are by Stan Folsom

Color Plates: 1. p. 131 Amerorchis rotundifolia forma lineata; Cypripedium acaule 2. p. 132 Isotria verticillata 3. p. 179 Tolumnia bahamensis 4. p. 180 Sacoila lanceolata var. lanceolata; Sacoila lanceolata var. paludicola
The opinions expressed in the Journal are those of the authors. Scientific articles may be subject to peer review and popular articles will be examined for both accuracy and scientific content. Volume 4, number 2, pages 117-190 ; issued June 10, 1998. Copyright 1998 by the North American Native Orchid Alliance, Inc. Cover: Platanthera praeclara by Stan Folsom

What a spring! Here in Florida is has one new orchid after another every week. Some of the highlights have included the two varieties of red ladies’-tresses – Sacoila lanceolata and the var. paludicola from the Fakahatchee Swamp, the dancing lady, Tolumnia bahamense, and both spreading pogonias – Cleistes divaricata and C. bifaria. And those are only a few!! I hope many of you will plan to attend the conference here in Florida next April. This summers’ conference is jam packed with both people and activities. It promises to be a great time! For me, I will have an opportunity to meet so many of you at last. Because of so many early registrations there have been a few cancellations so there is still some space left. If you are thinking of joining us don’t delay. I am at the point of needing more articles to keep the Journal interesting. Please consider writing about your summers’ adventures or a favorite place or species. The September issue of the Journal will contain many of the papers given at the conference in Minnesota.


I will be working at the herbarium at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida for the next several years on a Florida Native Orchid Project. Many interesting and exciting things are planned around this program which, among other things, will result in a full color field guide to the orchids of Florida. The Museum is in the process of raising money (both gifts and pledges) to finance this program. If you or any organization you belong to is interested in the project, please write me for a prospectus of the project. We will be back in Florida on September 1, so the September issue should be out before the end of the month. Paul Martin Brown Editor Summer: PO Box 759 Acton, Maine 04001-0759 207/636-3719 Sept – May: PO Box 772121 Ocala, Florida 34477-2121 352/861-2565 E-mail:



Shirley A. Curtis

Amerorchis rotundifolia is an attractive but rare orchid. It grows in cold, calcareous fens where black spruce, tamarack, northern white cedar and balsam fir are the dominant trees. In Canada and Alaska where there are a lot of cold, evergreen forests it grows more abundantly. Its common name is small round-leaved orchis, or one-leaf orchis. Other common plants growing with it are Labrador tea, twinflower, heart-leaved twaybade, Listera cordata, blunt-leaved orchid, Platanthera obtusata, showy lady’s-slipper, Cypripedium reginae, large and northern small yellow lady's-slippers, C. parviflorum var. pubescens and C. parviflorum var. makasin, and bog false Solomon’s seal. The Amerorchis flower is pinkish, and the lip is white, 3-lobed, spotted with purple. Some people call it the freckle face orchid, an appropriate name. It has



several forms but the most interesting to me is the forma lineata that differs from the typical by having two broad, purplish stripes on the lip. Years ago, I found a small book called The Orchids of the Cypress Hills. The introduction said nowhere in the Prairie Provinces can one find a greater diversity of orchids than in the Cypress Hills, which straddle the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan. It said the most common and abundant orchid there was the eastern fairy slipper, Calypso bulbosa, so I knew I wanted to go there someday. The vegetation of the Cypress Hills is composed mainly of grassland and forest. But there are no cypress trees. French-Canadian explorers mistakenly thought the lodgepole pine of these hills was their ―cypres‖, the jack pine of eastern Canada, so they named these hills Cypress Hills. Amerorchis rotundifolia grows in Cypress Hills. In 1993, on our way to Alaska we stopped there for several days. We saw about 2,000 Calypso, and after much exploration and hints from the Park staff we were able to locate the elusive Amerorchis and met two local botanists while exploring the site. We saw several hundred regular plants and 25-35 of the forma lineata plants. This striped variety was once thought to occur only in the Cypress Hills but has been discovered in Ontario and Banff National Park. While we were in Alaska we visited a site at Eklutna Lake. We found about 200 Amerorchis, none of the



Amerorchis rotundifolia Small round-leafed orchis



forma lineata, but several of them had large blotches of purple color instead of the typical small dots. Last June, Paul Martin Brown called me to say a friend of his had just returned from the Oompah bog/fen in Oompah, Ontario where he had seen about 500 Amerorchis with 200+ of the forma lineata. We were leaving in two days for a trip to the Bruce Peninsula, so we decided visiting the Ompah bog/fen could be worked into that trip. Paul gave me the name of the man who owns the fen; I called and received permission to go into the fen. We found about 300-400 plants scattered over a large area, with about 150 of them being the forma lineata. These were growing right among the regular ones. The common ones, however, included spots that were fewer and larger than typical, as well as a mixture of large spots on one side of the lip with a single stripe on the other side. Some had large blotches of color. The spots on each flower are different, they do not have the same pattern, but they do not have the small dots either as the regular Amerorchis do. There are other areas within a few miles of this fen that have the regular Amerorchis, but not the forma lineata. Blooming at the same time as the Amerorchis in Ompah bog were many other orchids. Among those in bloom were showy lady's-slippers, yellow lady'sslippers, heart-leaved twayblade, early coralroot, Corallorhiza trifida, and northern green bog orchis, Platanthera hyperborea. There were other plants blooming including twinflowers, cotton grass and Labrador tea.



The broad-leaved helleborine orchid, Epipactis helleborine, was in bud, and there were several orchid plants in an area all by themselves that had not budded. They appeared to be lady's-slippers, but I couldn’t identify them. In 1993, on that same trip to Alaska, we stopped at Banff on the way home. We found many Amerorchis in a near-by fen. Although they were mostly through blooming, we found several white-flowered plants, the forma beckettiae. We are going back to this area this summer and I’ll look for more.
Shirley A. Curtis, 278 Baer Rd., Rollinsford, NH 03869
Shirley and her husband Cory travel extensively throughout northern North America searching for our wild orchids. They have written about purple fringed orchids in Newfoundland in the September 1997 issue of the Journal.


Johnson: Cypripedium acaule

Stephen R. Johnson In the region of central Virginia surrounding the State Capitol, urbanization has been steadily increasing since the close of the Second World War, but the pace has dramatically increased in the last twenty years. True natural areas in this region are rare, but Richmond and the contiguous counties have established several parks where a semblance of wildness exists. Some of these parks include Rockwood, a county park in Chesterfield County, southeast of the city limits; and Crump, in Henrico County, west of the city. Pocahontas State Forest near Chester, Virginia is just a few miles south of Richmond. Each of these parks has a large area consigned for human use with athletic fields, jogging paths and cleared hiking trails. These trails go through forests that are not by any measure pristine, but they do resemble a more natural habitat. This part of Central Virginia has upland forests dominated by white oak, Quercus alba, with a minor mixture of northern red oak, Q. rubra, southern red oak, Q. falcata, post oak, Q. stellata, and several


Johnson: Cypripedium acaule

species of hickory, Carya sp. and beech, Fagus grandifolia. These uplands also have some large stands of scrub pine, Pinus virginiana, or loblolly, P. taeda. Much of the land beneath this forest is mesic and dominated by lowland trees such as red maple, Acer rubrum, sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua, and tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera. The understory is typically acidic and nutrient poor and dominated by sparse stands of blueberry, Vaccinium sp. and blackberry Rubus sp. Beneath the white oaks the ground is covered by a thick layer of fallen leaves and leaf mold and is generally free of short-statured perennial vegetation. Most plants there are either young oak trees (white or red), or blueberries. If you inspect the understory of this upland forest in late May, you may be treated to an inspiring show of pink lady's-slippers, Cypripedium acaule. These orchids were probably very common in pre-colonial Virginia and, in the more recent past, they were more common in the parks. If you take some time to observe where these pink lady's-slippers grow, you'll notice that they inhabit many areas that have bright but diffuse sunlight. Because of this preference for high light, they tend to establish themselves near cleared paths and roadways. For example, in Rockwood Park, I had observed a very large population of pink lady's-slippers (of perhaps 50 plants) under white oaks, in an area near the entrance to the park. This area was bordered by a highway to the south and by entrance or access roads on the other sides. I was rather delighted to find this population in 1986. I


Johnson: Cypripedium acaule

was equally dismayed but not exactly surprised to find that it was completely exterminated by 1997. The remaining population of pink lady's-slippers in Rockwood numbered 39 individuals in 1997. I have analyzed reproductive effort in this population by monitoring fruit production among the plants from 1990 through 1997. In 1991 and again in 1992 only 5 plants produced fruits. In 1993 and 1994 no plants produced fruit and in 1995 only one plant succeeded in ripening a fruit. In 1996, only 3 plants were successful. Then in 1997, an amazing 28% of the population (11 plants) were successful in completing the fruiting process. This increase may have been related to the unseasonably cool and moist spring in Central Virginia in 1997. This may have been directly beneficial to the plants or had some effect on the local populations of the pollinators (Radis, 1997). These orchids have an amazing list of requirements that must be fulfilled before either seed germination or successful seedling establishment takes place. While I didn't investigate all of the myriad of potentialities, I was intrigued by a note in The Smithsonian Guide to Seaside Plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coast (Duncan and Duncan, 1987) that said pink lady'sslippers grew in association with the roots of pine trees. I have seen it on the Virginia barrier Islands, part of the DelMarVa (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) Peninsula, where the maritime forest is composed predominantly of loblolly pine, Pinus taeda, but how could this relationship


Johnson: Cypripedium acaule

between a long-lived orchid and its progeny continue inland where pine forests are replaced by oak? To try and answer this question, I made many observations of pink lady's-slippers in Rockwood, Crump, and Pocahontas in 1995. In each of these parks there are many and sometimes large populations of pines, chiefly loblolly. In Rockwood, many but not all of the old loblolly sentinels are dead, while white oaks thrive. I measured their distance to the nearest tree of 25" dbh (diameter at breast height). Here, pink lady'sslippers grew beneath pines, sometimes at the base, but more often at a distance of 0.5 to 1 meter away. Digging beside the pink lady's-slipper often (in 8 cases out of the total 10) revealed a large root that originated at the pine. Three juveniles were even growing partially on the exposed surface of a pine root. The other 11 orchids were growing in association with white oak. Most were between 1 and 2 meters from the trees' base. Five were growing in clear association with an oak root. At Crump Park, the association between pink lady's-slippers and white oaks was even more evident. There, out of 54 distinct observations of orchid plants and distances to 25" dbh trees, the vast majority (63%) grew within 2 meters of a pine tree. Of these 34 plants, 17 were growing in direct contact with a pine root. In Crump, the association with white oak seemed much clearer. Thirty three percent (18 plants) were growing at an average distance of 0.23 meters away from a white oak. A row of 6 plants were found growing along a single, exposed, white oak root in a linear array, with the largest


Johnson: Cypripedium acaule

plant closer to the tree trunk and the smallest (assumed youngest) at the farthest extremity of the root. At Pocahontas State Forest, I eventually found a population of these orchids in a newly cleared forest gap. Most of the 29 orchids spotted were close to (within 01.5 m) pine stumps. The felled trees lay all around except in the cleared trail. Where these orchids had experienced bright diffuse light on the trail beneath the pines, they now suffered from the intense direct sunlight. Two plants were clearly dying (showing tissue necrosis) and about 25% (8 plants) were chlorotic, a clear symptom of damage due to the radically increased light intensity. In my judgement, these plants were growing in association with the pines. The dominant tree remaining in the area was southern red oak. I have not seen this population since 1995, but based on my observations of orchids in the county parks which associated in a few circumstances with southern red oak (Rockwood) or post oak (Crump), I can imagine that some members of the population may have adjusted.


Johnson: Cypripedium acaule

Cypripedium acaule pink lady’s-slipper


Johnson: Cypripedium acaule

My observations do suggest that the pink lady'sslipper does associate with the roots of loblolly pine, and also, though to a lesser degree, they associate with the roots of oaks, predominantly white oak. The great degree of association with pine and the lesser one with oaks leads me to speculate that the association between pine and pink lady's-slipper is somehow more beneficial to this orchid than is the benefit from the association with the oaks. But this appreciable degree of association between orchid and oak leads me to a larger speculation. I can imagine that the pink lady's-slipper is very common in a pine-dominated forest, but as it gives way to oaks the orchids, in smaller numbers, persevere. These oak-associated orchids then form small populations that shed seeds to continue establishing plants near the oaks. But eventually a storm, or insect damage, and more commonly man, topples the oaks and the pines return. From the orchids that persisted with the oaks, seeds are shed to colonize and form a larger population in the new forest of pine. This would form a long cycle of persistence as sure as the cycle of seasons.
References Duncan, W. H. and M. B. Duncan. 1987. The Smithsonian Guide to Seaside Plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, Exclusive of Lower Peninsular Florida. Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington D.C. 409 p. Radis, R. 1997. Exalted vegetables. North American Native Orchid Journal 3: 453-471. Stephen R. Johnson, Ph.D., Central College, Pella, Iowa 50219 Stephen last wrote for the Journal in December of 1996 concerning Orchids of Louisiana’s Cajon Prairie.


Amerorchis rotundifolia forma lineata small round-leaved orchis lined-lipped form Ontario, Canada S.A. Curtis

Cypripedium acaule pink lady's-slipper NF P.M. Brown


Critique of Isotria verticillata photograph. The focal point or center of the blossom occurs at the point of the golden oblong diagonal and right angle intersecting. The contrast of light and dark focuses the viewer’s eye on the plant. The linear aspects of the background literally point the eye towards the center of the blossom. The plant roughly adheres to a triangular outline creating a stable pose. The complicated background has been blurred to enhance rather than compete with the complicated floral subject. The only negative criticism is that the dark background obscures some of the darker sepals at the top of the Isotria. 132 132


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids

The Slow Empiricist Many amateur photographers have trouble composing their pictures in a satisfying manner. When they look at professional works they may feel even more inadequate. Since I am not a photographer but a fine artist, I cannot help you with the technical problems that you might encounter in picture taking. I can, however, help you with the artistic end of photography. For technical problems, I suggest consulting other photographers, joining a photography club where you can find support and answers, or, if they are available near you, try taking some photography courses. Before this article can help you create more satisfying results you need to do some analyzing of your own ideas as to what constitutes a terrific photograph. You should think what it is you want your pictures to show. Some nature photographers are interested in showing the orchid plants exactly as they occur in the wild. They would never use artificial methods like putting a blocking screen behind their subject so the


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids

plant stands out by itself. Flash photography is anathema to them, also. Other photographers employ these methods because they like to see dramatic shots as in the case of flash, or they want the orchid to be seen in an uninterrupted view as when they use some kind of blocking techniques. As you ponder what is important to you in creating satisfying photos, however, please keep in mind your own unique talents and personality. When I was just starting out to create artistic paintings, I often saw works by other artists that I thought were simply incredibly executed. I felt amateurish and awkward and I longed to produce work in a similar manner as my idols were producing. It took me awhile to learn to appreciate my own talents and stop trying to emulate someone else's work who brought a whole different set of skills to their projects. I guess what I am advising you to be cognizant of is for you to know yourself well enough. Do you have the personality to spend several hours in a cramped position waiting to catch an elusive pollinator for the particular orchid you are photographing? Or are you more spontaneous? Don't moon over the fact that you are not the patient type who can wait for endless hours to capture a photographic moment that impresses you when you see someone else's stunning photograph that captures such an elusive moment. You have a different talent to exploit! You should be trying to find subjects that satisfy your different mindset and skills. I learned a long time ago that if you are not true to yourself, the veneer that you try to coat your honest


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids

self with is only a cheap imitation of the real thing. You have interests, talents and skills that can be enhanced and should be developed. Don't try to be someone else! It's an exercise in futility, to my way of thinking, and you are worth a lot more than being a carbon copy. If you agree that trying to copy someone else's style is still only an imitation of the real thing; you can begin to improve your own style and talent. Now that you won't be trying to achieve the impossible for your skills and interests, let's look at the elements that you might be able to employ to make your photos look more professional. Usually a superb photograph has certain artistic qualities as well as the photographic techniques that the creator employed. These are the things my art experiences might help you recognize and put to use in your photography sessions. These include the compositional qualities, the textural qualities, the spatial relationships within the picture plane as well as color, line and the play of light and dark. It isn't easy to employ all these characteristics when you are still feeling your way with your camera. It might be better to concentrate on one element at a time until you have mastered it. Learning to use artistic tools is like learning to dance! First, when you start dancing lessons you are so concerned with where to place your feet that you move like a robot. Then, as you become more knowledgeable you move more gracefully until the action becomes a part of you and is effortless. Then you are really dancing, not just moving your feet in predetermined patterns. So,


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids

too, when you are first aware of the elements of art and you start to employ them in your photo shoots, you will be slower and less sure of what you are doing. At this point in your exercise you should have been thinking about what pictures have really caught your eye and you should have come to some understanding of what you would like to accomplish with your picture-taking. Once you have isolated the kind of work that you think is so great (if it fits with your way of working) you should then be able to apply some of those aforementioned compositional and artistic tools to enhance your own work. You will then be able to find your own voice, making your photos speak clearly for you. I would like to take you through some rough ideas about each of the artistic elements that can help improve your work. We'll start with the element of composition. Composition Composition is the process of selecting the arrangement of the parts of your picture. When you are looking through the viewfinder you do not have to settle for the first head-on shot that you espy. You can move the camera around to achieve your desired goal. Here are some good rules of thumb to keep in mind as you sight for the perfect composition. 1. Uneven numbers are more dynamic than even numbers. Example: A shot with one flowering stem is


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids

usually more effective than two stems. Three is better than two are. Take this little test! Hold your hand at arm's length in front of you. Hold up one finger. You look at the finger! Hold up two fingers separated like a V and you look in between at the space. The same thing happens with the two stems of your orchids if they are separated. If you can move around so the two stems overlap somewhat you can eliminate the vacant space that takes away from your main focus, making them seem more like one. With three stems the focus tends to occur on the central flower. (Examples 1 & 2) 2. Focal points. The second tip concerns where you wish to concentrate the main focal point in your composition. Dead-on-center placement can make the picture very stable but it may rob the plant of vitality. When you are sighting through your viewfinder observe the outer boundaries of your subject. Again, try moving the focal point slightly to one side or the other. It might make the orchid come alive instead of just looking like it was stuck in the picture.


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids

3. The golden oblong. There is a trick that some artists use to place the most important object within the picture plane in a dynamic spot. Picture in your mind a diagonal from upper right hand corner to the lower left-hand corner of your photograph, or viceversa. Now attach an imaginary line that runs from the unused corner that bisects the diagonal at right angles. The line may emanate from either unused corner. The intersection represents one of the ideal spots to locate the main object of your composition. This is called the golden oblong! It works better with more rectangular picture shapes than the size of a photographic slide but it will help you get away from always centering your focal points. (Diagram 1) Spatial relationships Every picture can be divided up into areas. The relationship these areas have to one another constitutes their spatial relationship. Backgrounds can overwhelm a subject if the relationship is too great. A subject can overwhelm the background if it usurps too much room in the picture. Most commonly, you are dealing with the appearance of spaces that occur around the main focal points. When you are setting up your photographic shot, as you look through your viewfinder, check out the surrounding sizes of the background areas. If they appear to be even in size you will have a stable background to display your subject against. This is a balancing act and shifting the subject within the picture


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids

plane can affect the balance. Sometimes it is more dynamic to have uneven spatial relationships because they will compete more aggressively with the subject and create tension within the picture plane. Line You have the element of line to work with in your composition. Line leads the viewer's eye through the picture. Sometimes poorly composed pictures have lines that point the viewer right out of the picture and the subject becomes lost in the eye's quick exit. There are many linear things in orchids you can use to direct the viewer's eye. Successful artists use line to make the viewer travel through their pictures in a pleasant journey, stopping at the points of interest. Everyone starts at some point in the picture plane to see what the picture holds. How cleverly the artist keeps the viewer moving can enhance both the experience and the import of the picture. Plants have stems, which are very linear in nature. They also have shapes that can point, like leaf-shapes that are triangular, which can point almost like an arrow to direct your eye. Just to add to the mix, some leaves are more linear and some are definitely circular. Some orchids have definitely linear floral parts like the sweeping sepals of the large whorled pogonia, Isotria verticillata (Plate 2., pg. 132). Try to assess what directions these components of your orchid are emphasizing within the picture plane. If the dominant lines are directing


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids

your eye out of the picture they will surely do the same for anyone who views the resulting photograph. Playing with the linear aspects of your picture takes time and skill to successfully master. It will mean really weighing the possibilities and also being aware of the significance of this element to detract from your main focus. Shapes Simple shapes are the easiest to work with. Orchids, however, are far from simple to look at because of their myriad qualities. That is probably why you like to photograph them. The simple shapes are geometric like the square, rectangle, circle, triangle and oval. If the main mass of your subject fits any of these simple shapes you will have a stable subject unless the triangular shape is inverted on its point or any of the other straight-edged shapes are slanted. Then your objects will look out of kilter, crooked, or tipping to one side of the picture. If you line up the vertical axis (the imaginary line that traverses the object centrally from top to bottom) with the edge of your viewfinder you can avoid having slightly misaligned focal points that impart a drunken


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids

characteristic to your specimens. Since most floral subjects don't stand at attention, an easy solution is to balance the vertical axis so that equal parts occur on each side of the straight line. That way you won't have so much weight pulling your subject off to one side or the other, but will have a natural balance occurring in your result. You can also create a more dynamic balance by employing the golden oblong principle as your vertical axis point of origin. Now you have to assess the shapes that exist within your main subject matter. Are the blossoms circular? Are they irregular? Does the mass of the basal rosette (if there is one) appear to be circular or irregular? What about the leaves? You will have to make decisions as to how these shapes affect your overall picture. A morass of irregular shapes can confuse the picture and make it difficult to enjoy. On the other hand, a dearth of irregularity in any part may impart a deadly look to the subject. If you take the time to study the subject and look at the possibilities that exist, you will begin to know how you want to finally set up your camera. The placement may change to take advantage of what the shapes tell your composing mind. Remember, try not to let the shapes make your picture top heavy or pull your eye too far to one side so that your eye leaves the picture before it has seen the entire thing. (Example 3) Color Color is one of the easier elements to use to compose your picture. The warmer colors, red, orange


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids

and yellow are advancing colors and bound toward the front of the picture plane. The cooler colors, green, blue and violet, do the opposite and recede into the background. That may be why you have trouble photographing little green orchids like the green adder's mouth, Malaxis unifolia. Busy surface colors that can occur in highly colored or decorated floral parts like the dragon's mouth orchid, Arethusa bulbosa, will compete for attention in the picture as much as the shy M. unifolia recedes into obscurity. Keeping in mind the characteristics of the colors of the orchid you are working with may help you to use them effectively. Just as too much irregularity of shape may overwhelm your photograph, too much of one color may wrap your picture in dull fog where the subject is lost. When there is little in the way of color difference you may have to use value to make your subject have some life of its own. Shafts of sunlight that illuminate the plant, or that play in the background, can introduce the contrast that may be lacking. When there is so much color contending for the viewer's attention, you may find it expedient to zoom in on a single element like one stem and blossom rather than trying to photograph the entire clump. Texture Texture is the look of the surface of the objects. You are working with such things as smooth, shiny, woolly, rough, and so on. Natural backgrounds often


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids

give the appearance of being complicated and confusing. All the lines, shapes and textures can compete with your main emphasis. This is where you have to decide how important the background elements are going to be. Some texture can add interest and life to your picture, but too much can make it look like one of those 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles that have so much occurring you have trouble focusing on one part of the picture. You may want to use blocking devises like a plain background sheet to set up behind your subject to simplify the picture. Or you may want to do a little forest clean up (so long as you don't endanger the orchid by removing too much natural material) to make your subject stand out better. Texture adds an interesting dimension to the photograph, but a little can go a long way. Using common sense can help you avoid overloading the picture with confusing textural elements. A beautiful woman would not bedeck herself with all the jewelry she owns, nor would a handsome man deck himself in all his jewelry to make his beauty stand out. Both attempts would look silly as well as confounding the eye of the beholder. There are camera techniques that can softfocus out some of the confusing textures that naturally occur and let the main focal point stand out. Close-up techniques, which bring the subject much nearer, also can reduce the confusion of too much background texture.


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids

Dark and Light Dark and light areas in your picture can play a very dramatic part in the final look of your subject. A picture taken with flash creates some highly dramatic shots because the backgrounds often become completely black and that makes the subject jump out of the picture plane at the viewer. If you like to use the natural light of the sun as it comes through the overhanging canopy of trees (if you have a woodland orchid subject) you can create some stunning visual effects. A good rule of thumb is that lighter objects contrast against darker objects, and vice versa. The shapes of the light and dark areas can direct the eye toward your main focal point just like any other shape can. To sum up what I have tried to impart to you about perfecting your photographic artistry, here are the keys. Be aware of the number of focal points you are photographing, and try to manipulate them so they don't compete. Uneven numbers work in simplifying compositional elements. If you can get the floral part of the orchid to occur at the point of the golden oblong you may have created a dynamic picture that places the subject in an ideal location in the picture plane. Learning to control the spatial relationships that occur will bring balance to the photograph. If the linear aspects lead the viewer's eye on a journey through the entire picture plane you are another step toward perfection. If you have kept your subject's mass within a reasonably simple shape you may have added more expertise to the photograph. Playing with the shapes to give balance to them will stabilize your final result.


Empiricist: Picture Perfect Orchids

Finally, what you have done with the color and textural elements and the play of light and dark add the grace notes to your final work of art. There is a lot to be learned and it won't come in a few attempts so I wish you the perseverance to keep on trying. As a parting shot, the truly innovative artist can thumb his/her nose at these "rules" and create stunning, imaginative pieces of artwork that open new avenues for expression that lesser lights never thought could happen. I suspect there are photographers out there who can do the very same thing.
The Slow Empiricist


Parsons: Orchid Hunting in Florida

M. J. Parsons I am known as a snowbird, as I visit Florida each year normally during January and February. I come from England and stay usually between two and six weeks trying to capture the Sunshine State's beautiful weather. I come with my wife, mother and father-in-law and sometimes a few friends. I am an orchidophile, and have visited many sites in Great Britain and Europe and have also travelled as far as Turkey and Israel in the East and the Canary Islands in the West. As I know that Florida has over 120 species of orchids I thought that finding them would be a doddle—how wrong I was! The climate at this time of year is similar to spring in southern Europe, where it is quite easy to find many species of orchids at one site, but this it seems is not the case in Florida. I soon found out that there are very few species that flower at this time of the year and the ones that do flower are, it appears, fairly rare. Of course, there are a few epiphytes that do flower at this time of the year. Although some species flower during the whole year, they are far up in the trees and it is hard for the inexperienced eye to decipher the genus


Parsons: Orchid Hunting in Florida

from the leaves, especially when the orchid is not in flower. So where does one start? First of all it is not easy to look along roadsides, as it is strangely very difficult to park, mainly owing to the Florida roadside restrictions. However, there is one orchid that seems to be ubiquitous and is easily found in January. This orchid is Zeuxine strateumatica, also known as the lawn orchid, which originated from Asia and seems to be spreading rapidly. Like many alien species, and not unlike our European Epipactis helleborine, the broad-leaved helleborine, it has no known predators at the present time and seems to rapidly spread if the conditions are right. I first found the lawn orchid, funny enough, at Universal Studios and photographed it, with much disgust from my children, who thought I was showing them up!! Later, I even found it in my own lawn in my garden, sorry, back yard! I have since seen it everywhere. The orchid looks a little like Spiranthes, with the brown colouring similar to Orchis collina from Europe. The lawn orchid was found on my first trip to Florida, and finding it difficult to find other orchids, I turned to other plant species and the beautiful birds of Florida. The second year I managed to find the toothed habenaria, Habenaria odontopetala, (a tall green orchid), strangely enough in a wood just outside Orchid World, a commercial place which has many tropical orchids. Once I knew what it looked like I began to find it everywhere: Lake Dorr, Gemini Recreation site, and Merritt Island. I realised the reason I was just finding


Parsons: Orchid Hunting in Florida

the orchid now was because I had arrived during a cold spell and the orchid was in bloom still in January and February. I understand the best time for flowering is in December. The third year I came to Florida was in March and I saw one early ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes praecox, at Corkscrew Wildlife Sanctuary and the grass-leaved ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes vernalis, in the Everglades. I found many other orchid leaves, but unfortunately none in flower, such as wild coco, Eulophia alta, the paleflowered polystachya, Polystachya concreta, and the Florida clam-shell orchid, Prosthechea cochleata var. triandra. There could have been many others but I was not experienced enough to put a name to them. At last I was seeing some other orchids in flower, but still I had a long way to go to see over 100 orchids. I wondered, "Where do they hide!" The fourth year I visited many state parks, but I found that there were very few rangers that knew anything about the plants. It seems that most rangers are employed for security rather than their knowledge of the wildlife. On visiting Corkscrew Wildlife Sanctuary I at last found somebody who knew a little about orchids, who told me that there was only one species in bloom, being the shadow-witch orchid, Ponthieva racemosa. I was then told that I could not visit the area, as there was no one available to escort me. I said that was no problem if they gave me directions but I was then informed that I was not allowed to go because of the pygmy rattlesnakes in the area, and they did not want to lose any customers!!


Parsons: Orchid Hunting in Florida

Fortunately they told me a good site for burrowing owls nearby which compensated for the lack of orchids. In the fourth year, however, I did manage to find Ponthieva racemosa with an unusual raceme, and Wister's coralroot, Corallorhiza wisteriana, a yellowish/brown coralroot orchid in Highlands Hammock State Park. Now orchid hunting was looking a little better, but I still had a long way to go. My fifth year was my best, I joined the North American Native Orchid Alliance and got in touch with Paul Martin Brown and Stan Folsom, who were staying in Florida at the same time as myself. We arranged to visit Highlands together, and we saw more of the orchids mentioned previously. We were mainly looking for Eltroplectris calcarata, the spurred neottia, but had no luck. Paul pointed out several epiphytes in the trees—the green-fly orchis, Epidendrum conopseum, the Florida butterfly orchid, Encyclia tampensis, which I then realised I had seen in Myakka State Park and Kissimee State Park. Paul also pointed out the leafless Harrisella, Harrisella porrecta, on an orange tree exactly in the same place as Luer described in his book.


Parsons: Orchid Hunting in Florida

Corallorhiza wisteriana Wister’s coralroot


Parsons: Orchid Hunting in Florida

Listera australis Southern twayblade


Parsons: Orchid Hunting in Florida

Spiranthes praecox Giant ladies’-tresses


Parsons: Orchid Hunting in Florida

Unfortunately none of these species were in flower. However, we did find a good site on the way to Highlands in a spot where a small housing estate was meant to be built. Thank goodness, it had not been constructed! In the ditches were many water spider orchids, Habenaria repens, in flower. This species apparently flowers during the whole year and seems to be more of an aquatic orchid. Since that day, on Paul's advice, I visited another good site near Belleview, for Corallorhiza wisteriana, where there could be over a thousand. If mosquitoes are the pollinators to this orchid then no wonder that this orchid was abundant! I then found speckled ladies'tresses, Cyclopogon cranichoides, in Alexander Springs State Park, but only in bud, and the many-flowered ladies'tresses, Mesadenus polyanthus, near Floral City in Citrus County. Both these species had previously been listed under Spiranthes, and the latter, which was in flower, looked like a cross between Spiranthes and Coralroot. I was very pleased to find this orchid, especially as the first plant I found was in prime condition and had over 50 florets. In the book it is described as only having between 10 and 40 florets, which proved more or less correct with the rest of the colony, which were several yards from my prime flower. The only other orchid found was the southern twayblade, Listera australis, which was found in the city limits of Gainesville. This orchid was just as difficult to find as the heart-leaved twayblade, Listera cordata, especially as it was hiding among a colony of ferns. This orchid was just as pretty


Parsons: Orchid Hunting in Florida

and I was fortunate to have a green and purple orchid next to one another. It looks that if orchid hunting is to progress in the early months then I must visit the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve. Although over 30 species can be seen in a day, the area could well be under water and walking would involve wading from boot level to waist deep. Of course, that is not the only problem, tangled undergrowth, snakes, sleeping alligators, mosquitoes, as well as getting disorientated, have to be taken into account but I have a few months yet to plan my next trip to Florida.
M. J. Parsons, 14 Chestnut Avenue, Billericay, Essex CM12 9JF, England.


Sampliner: Triphora and Ciliaris

Tom Sampliner Billowy cumulus clouds chased each other across a blue sky on Wednesday, August 6th, 1997. It was a perfect day for August, or any other month for that matter. Temperature was in the 70's with both gentle breezes and low humidity, a rare combination during our summers in Ohio. In response to a last-minute invitation from fellow Native Orchid Alliance member Clete Smith of Pittsburgh, I was to drive there for a rendezvous and join an expedition to known sites for the three birds orchid, Triphora trianthophora and the yellow fringed orchid, Platanthera ciliaris, with prospects for others. Our destination was Norton, West Virginia with another Alliance member, Dr. Doug Jolly, who would join us at Weston, West Virginia. These areas are some that time has gently passed by, keeping changes to modest proportions. Knowing how Clete works from a one-half day I had spent with him, I was thankful the muse of sleep had been kind and generous the night before this trip. I knew full well my companions would use every second of available light in the field.


Sampliner: Triphora and Ciliaris

Specifically, that would mean dinner at 8-9 P.M., locally, followed by the drive back to Pittsburgh where I would retrieve my car. That would leave me at midnight or later to commence my lonely ride home. Bet I surprised my three cats with an arrival at 2:30 A.M. Are we orchid hunters crazy or what? Back to the pleasant, descriptive portion of this article. A drive south of Pittsburgh into West Virginia is scenic anytime. Rounded rolling hills fill your field of vision. Mists and low clouds seem to play a constant game of tag with the mountains. Those puffy, white clouds bouncing along provide fascinating contrasts with the bands of green vegetation and the purple of the mountains. You wish you could stop to enjoy and photograph so many passing scenes. Time, however, on a journey such as this, permits no such luxury. At Weston, we bid adieu to I-79 and headed east along Rt. 33 to reach the Norton area. It was there that I was to make my first acquaintance with the habitat and the plant, the three birds orchid. The habitat was mixed woods generously strewn with boulders of all different sizes, each liberally covered with ferns, mosses and mushrooms. E.T. could have appeared at any moment. The forest was second growth; however, a curious local informed us that tree rustlers were a problem. Apparently our professed interest in wildflowers, rather than trees, satisfied the concerned inquiry.


Sampliner: Triphora and Ciliaris

Perhaps the most common ground cover was violets in fruit. Also frequent were the multiple-tiered fruiting stalks of Indian cucumber root, Medeola virginica. Rhododendrons told of great beauty earlier in the season. The most prolific groups of Triphora were adjacent to the dirt road. One may conclude that disturbance is helpful to this species. According to the historical perspective supplied by my knowledgeable companions, blooming for this species has proven notoriously fickle. Unfortunately, our visit was to prove premature to catch these orchids in bloom. Those we were to see this date were still in rather tight bud. Too bad, as we saw clusters of 15-25 which would have made impressive pictures. We all agreed that once you actually see the habitat for a species it becomes far easier to pick out growing plants no matter at what stage of growth. It was striking how each of the several sites we visited could have passed as mirror images of each other. I should add that in addition to the boulders, there were penetrations of various rock formations extending as ledges. Walking around can be quite an adventure.


Sampliner: Triphora and Ciliaris

Triphora trianthophora three birds’ orchid


Sampliner: Triphora and Ciliaris

Platanthera peramoena Purple fringeless orchid


Sampliner: Triphora and Ciliaris

Goodyera pubescens downy rattlesnake orchis


Sampliner: Triphora and Ciliaris

Platanthera ciliaris orange fringed orchid


Sampliner: Triphora and Ciliaris

Each site did have liberal doses of the rattlesnake plantain orchid, Goodyera pubescens. A number were in full bloom. The reticulated leaves make an attractive ground cover. Ferns and mushrooms were everywhere. On our way to our last hope for three birds in bloom this day, we passed a roadside open area laden with blueberries and many old field favorites. Now I don't know about you, but I wouldn't normally equate species like Queen Ann's lace, Daucus carota, purple clover, Trifolium pratense, common St. John's-wort, Hypericum perforatum, tupelo, Nyssa sylvatica and dewberries, Rubus flagellaris, with orchids. I am more apt to think of orchids when some less common species such as: spotted wintergreen, Chimiphila maculata, big bluestem, Andropogon gerardi, and that attractive tree member of the Ericaceae, sourwood, Oxydendrum arboreum, add their presence to the site. However, I am now a believer, as this was not only my first view of the yellow fringed orchid, Platanthera ciliaris, in bloom, but it was plentiful and clearly in peak bloom. Many plants were at least 12" high and of so bright an orange that they literally jump out of the road sides at you. As we walked among them, Doug was the first to spot yellow bartonia, Bartonia virginica, exhibiting small yellow racemes, very stiff and erect, and its opposite leaves. The yellow fringed orchid grew from the sandy openings into the woodland. At one spot the ground rapidly descended into what obviously was a coal scrape. Even down there the Platanthera ciliaris had penetrated.


Sampliner: Triphora and Ciliaris

I concluded that disturbance was agreeable to this species. The orange/green color combination is striking; even more so is the image obtained when you isolate a floret filling the frame through a macro lens. This site reminds me of many portions of our oak openings. Curiously enough, that is northern Ohio's only current site for this orchid. Perhaps this harkens back to the thought that a mental image of the type of habitat is quite important for use as a homing beacon when exploring for your target of the day. Our last site for the day was on private property; folks known to my companions, who were generous in their playing host to orchid hunters such as our motley crew. An upland woods provided the now familiar habitat. However, once again we were only to see orchids in tight bud and not nearly in the quantity my companions expected from prior years' visits. Today the woods only showed off Goodyera. However, the lady of the house didn't want us to leave disappointed so she directed us to walk down along a creek where after several years absence, a purple fringeless orchid, Platanthera peramoena, decided it was time to reappear. Due to the relentless attack by deer, it was necessary to protect this valued specimen with a wire cage enclosure. In the field was a pleasant and plentiful supply of ragged fringed orchid, Platanthera lacera, many still in fine condition. As we left the farm in that golden glow of late daylight, we would revisit the ciliaris site now that the


Sampliner: Triphora and Ciliaris

wind had completely ceased for the day. Photography is at its finest when those final golden rays at the end of the day bathe everything in dramatic light. As we retraced our steps to the Platanthera ciliaris, we saw a most curious sight, a herd of deer were grazing. Several firstyear animals were romping along the inside perimeter of the fence while the adults concentrated on the important business of grazing. The youngsters were fast losing the remnants of their white spots, and were almost completely able to blend in with the rest of the herd. These fawns seemed impressed with our passing and were stimulated to put on a performance, without request, of cavorting up and down the fence line. Aside from looking up to assure that we were no threat, the adults merely continued with business. I sure wished I had time to photograph the sourwood trees. I had to be content with the last views of the orchids. My flash equipped companions were able to persevere longer than I. However, I was quite content to slowly pack up my gear and contemplate the many wonderful things seen this day. Stars were starting to appear. As we hit the main highway and become concerned with such mundane matters as dinner, I was seeing star formations that I could only dream about in the light-polluted confines of home. At dinner, I was famished; I hadn't eaten since just prior to rendezvous with Clete in Pittsburgh. I realized the ordeal ahead of me. It would be midnight before retrieving my car and then commencing my 2 1/2 hour journey home alone. Guess what dominates the highways that time of night? Trucks! My wondrous day-journey would drift far into


Sampliner: Triphora and Ciliaris

the night. To echo a refrain from country music greats, The Kendalls, "Thank God for the radio." That's what got me home.
Thomas A. Sampliner, 2651 Kerwick, University Heights, Ohio 44118 Tom is a regular contributor to the Journal and last wrote on Ladies’-tresses of Ohio in the June 1997 issue.


Sheviak & Bracht: New Chromosomes Numbers in Platanthera

Charles J. Sheviak and Michelle Bracht Chromosome numbers can be useful in taxonomic analyses because they can impose limits on the interpretation of other data and indicate mechanisms of variation and evolution. In some situations they can help delimit species. Accordingly, we have obtained the following numbers in support of systematic studies of the Platanthera hyperborea (L.) Lindley complex. All vouchers are deposited at NYS.

P. dilatata (Pursh) Lindl. var. dilatata
Sheviak 2391a New York: Warren Co. 2n=42

P. dilatata (Pursh) Lindl. var. albiflora (Cham.)
Ledeb. Sheviak & Sheviak 2274a Colorado: Boulder Co Sheviak & Jennings 2440 Colorado: Boulder Co. 2n=42; 21II 2n=42


Sheviak & Bracht: New Chromosomes Numbers in Platanthera

Sheviak 5894 Colorado: Boulder Co. Luer Sheviak 2486a Nevada: Elko Co. Sheviak 2491b California: Sierra Co. Sheviak & Sheviak 2918c California: Sierra Co. Sheviak 2289 Colorado: Grand Co.

2n=42; 21II

P. dilatata (Pursh) Lindl. var. leucostachys (Lindl.)
2n=ca.42 2n=42 2n=42

P. huronensis (Nutt.) Lindl.
2n=42II 2n=ca.84 2n=84 2n=84; 42II 2n=84

Sheviak & Mitchell 1530 New York: Oswego Co. Sheviak & Sheviak 3092b British Columbia: Vermillion Crossing Sheviak & Sheviak 5504a Alaska: Kenai Penninsula Sheviak 5888a Colorado: Pitkin Co.

P. hyperborea (L.) Lindl.
Sheviak 2011a New York: Clinton Co. 2n=42


Sheviak & Bracht: New Chromosomes Numbers in Platanthera

Sheviak 2340 Minnesota: Clay Co. Sheviak 2732 Manitoba: Sundown Sheviak & Sheviak 5474 Alaska: Brooks Range Sheviak et al. 2428a Colorado: Clear Creek Co. Sheviak & Burling 2645i Arizona: Graham Co. Sheviak 5895a Colorado: Boulder Co.

2n=42 2n=42; 21II 2n=42

P. purpurascens (Rydb.) Shev. & Jenngs.
2n=42 2n=63 2n=42; 21II

P. stricta Lindl.

Sheviak & Sheviak 5500c Alaska: Talkeetna Mountains


P. dilatata (Pursh) Lindl. var. albiflora (Cham.) Ledeb. P. huronensis (Nutt.) Lindl.
Sheviak & Sheviak 3092a British Columbia: Vermilion Crossing 2n=ca.63 Sheviak & Sheviak 3092c British Columbia: Vermilion Crossing 2n=63

P. dilatata (Pursh) Lindl. var. albiflora (Cham.) Ledeb. P. purpurascens (Rydb.) Shev. & Jenngs.


Sheviak & Bracht: New Chromosomes Numbers in Platanthera

Sheviak 5863b Colorado: Boulder Co. Sheviak 5896a Colorado: Boulder Co. Sheviak 5896b Colorado: Boulder Co. Sheviak 5897a Colorado: Boulder Co. Sheviak 5897c Colorado: Boulder Co. Sheviak 5897d Colorado: Boulder Co.

2n=42; 21II 2n=42; 21II 2n=42 2n=42 2n=42 2n=42

Undetermined hybrid simulating P. huronensis but with a very short, strongly clavate to almost saccate spur. Perhaps P. dilatata (Pursh) Lindl. var. albiflora (Cham.) Ledeb. P. huronensis (Nutt.) Lindl., but P. huronensis was not evident at the site. Possibly P. dilatata var. albiflora P. purpurascens involving an unreduced gamete (these being the two taxa present with 5863a) or other combinations of these three likely parentals. Sheviak 5863a Colorado: Boulder Co. 2n=ca.63


Sheviak & Bracht: New Chromosomes Numbers in Platanthera

Contribution number 783 of the New York State Museum and Science Service. `
Charles J. Sheviak,Ph.D., Biological Survey, New York State Museum, Albany, NY 12230. Michelle Bracht, Department of Biological Sciences, University at Albany, Albany, NY 12222 [present address: Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802].



Proceedings of the 3 North American Native Orchid Conference July 8-11, 1998 Lake Itasca, Minnesota

And more!



Stan Folsom This is a true story of orchid vulnerability, especially of an uncommon species, which makes the telling of it highly astounding. I thought rare and endangered species were protected. What I learned was quite the contrary. Still, it shocked me that there are widespread problems here in Florida. This is the story of what is happening to Florida’s Dancing Lady, Tolumnia bahamense, (synonym Oncidium bahamense), an orchid that is so rare that it is only known from one area. It occurs in and around the area of the Jonathan Dickinson State Park near Jupiter, Florida. To begin my tale, let me relate that I accompanied Paul Martin Brown on a day trip to view the orchid at the park. It was a hot day in the low 90’s Fahrenheit with a brisk breeze, which helped ease the stress of the high temperature. We left Ocala early in the morning with our two dogs that enjoy riding along on our orchid expeditions. The early departure would give us plenty of time to explore along the way as well as give the maximum time at the actual site.



We were rewarded with many sightings of the socalled red ladies’-tresses, Sacoila lanceolata, along the Florida Turnpike and on Interstate 95. We found these plants in roadside areas that had not been recently mowed. We probably would have seen more except for the fact that the Florida highway department has a diligent need to keep their roadsides mowed as tightly as they can. We also had our first sighting of lace-lipped ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes laciniata, after we left the Interstate and were headed over to Jonathan Dickinson. Paul was able to take photographs and DNA samples for his work. When we got to the park entrance, we found that the ranger, Randy Shoe, had left us directions to the best public site for the Tolumnia. This was the same spot we had been to several years earlier where we had seen the plant, but not in bloom. We traveled the short distance to the spot and Paul quickly located the orchid. It was in bloom. It had been flowering for awhile, but it had not set any seed. While I watched our two Pomeranians, Paul scouted about for awhile. No other plants were found here, so we proceeded to slowly explore the roadsides and areas of the park for other plants. Paul hoped to find more Spiranthes laciniata, but he came up empty. It was becoming very hot by this time of late morning. After partaking of our picnic lunch, we decided



to see if we could find the original site for the Tolumnia. It was an old cemetery where at one time it was thought that the original Tolumnia had been brought from the Bahamas as decorations for the graves. The plants had seeded into the cemetery and surrounding areas. However, the present status of these plants was very shaky as the area had been expanded and upgraded by housing developments and the resulting gentrification. We left the park and followed directions to the road where the old cemetery was but we could only find a neatly manicured, modern cemetery with carefully maintained grounds. We drove in to see if there was an older section, but none was evident as all parts were mown closely and kept up. The back of the cemetery was in disarray, however, with a large portion of the wooded, scrubby area being bulldozed to make room for more gravesites. After leaving this cemetery, which we felt must not be the right one because it didn’t fit our idea of an old cemetery, we went all the way to the end of the road and did not find any evidence of another cemetery. We were discouraged. Paul thought that possibly they had moved the graves to make room for the developments. I felt that was not likely and insisted we find someone to ask. Paul agreed to stop for information and pulled into a garden shop that was just up the street from the cemetery we had explored. Again, I waited with the dogs while Paul went into the shop. It seemed like he was taking forever in the shop, when he came out all grins. It seems the shop manager, a Carol Wilson, lived next to



the cemetery and there were dancing ladies on her property. She invited us to drive over and explore and take one if we so desired because ―They pop up everywhere!‖ Carol related that the cemetery was moved some years ago from another site that frequently flooded. The oldest graves dated to 1920. Ames first found the Tolumnia in 1905, so it is unlikely that the legend of plants brought over from the Bahamas is credible, at least at this present site. We were also told to explore the bulldozed area because these orchids occurred there as well. We followed Carol’s directions and found about eight blooming plants in her yard. We met her companion who showed us their collection of orchids in the greenhouse they maintained on the property. Then I took Paul over to the cemetery and let him out to explore the back area. He found many plants in the scrub and one that had twenty-four blooming stems! This one was right in the path of the bulldozer! Now comes the unbelievable part! I have been told that in the state of Florida, construction workers, road builders and the like can do anything they like to clear areas. People who want to rescue rare plants have to go through so many channels to get that permission that often the plants are destroyed before they can be rescued. To me, that is just incredible! I understand the



intent is to prevent those unscrupulous characters, who think nothing of digging up wild flowers for their own devious ends, from doing just that. There should be some happy medium, which would allow for a quick resolution to an impending disaster for the threatened plants, however. Possibly a state botanist or other official could be given the go-ahead to cut through the red tape when the situation demands immediate action. Another possibility might be for a more closely monitoring being done of existing sites so that when progress threatens an area, action can be initiated. Lastly, there should be some mechanism for the concerned parties to work out a compromise that is agreeable to the interested parties. Surely, there can be a better set of controls put in place that would stop progress for the time it takes to work out viable options that would satisfy the builders and shakers and allow the plants to survive.
Stan Folsom, 10896 SW 90th Terrace, Ocala, FL 34481. Stan is an artist whose line drawings frequently accompany many of the articles in the Journal.


Tolumnia bahamensis dancing lady Palm Beach Co., FL P.M. Brown 179


Sacoila lanceolata var lanceolata red ladies-tresses Hendry Co., FL Photos by P.M. Brown

Sacoila lanceolata var paludicola Fahkahatchee ladies-tresses Collier Co., FL



Brown: Whatever Happened to all of the Spiranthes?!

Paul Martin Brown The genus Spiranthes, the ladies'-tresses, in the strictest sense, is one of the most recognizable in all of the orchids on the earth. They have small, numerous white or cream flowers arranged in a spike, most often in a spiral fashion. The only color exception to this is S. sinensis of Asia and Australia, which is usually bright pink. As various times in their botanical history many other species have been included within the genus Spiranthes. These species may have been originally described as a Spiranthes or, most often, in closely allied genera, and then merged by later taxonomists into Spiranthes. The various segregate genera are really quite easy to distinguish as none of them have small, white or cream flowers arranged in a spiral fashion. The flowers are usually very small, brown or green or occasionally white or in some instance brilliant scarlet. Like the true Spiranthes they do possess basal leaves, either linear or obovate, and those leaves may or may not extend up the stem and merge into bracts. The various segregate


Brown: Whatever Happened to all of the Spiranthes?!

genera have very specific characteristics and are confined to the southern portions of North America, often extending further south to the Caribbean and South America. In the United States these segregate genera are found in Florida, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. In Correll (1950), the two volumes by Luer, (Luer 1973, 1975) and most other field guide or local floras all of these segregate genera are included within the genus Spiranthes. Garay (1980) and Balogh (1982) both published extensive revisions to the group with definite delimitations for the segregate genera. Catling (1990) presented a brief synopsis of the genera and species and subsequently some current authors have adopted some of the segregate genera, but not necessarily all of them. There has been a real sense of staying away from a perceived controversy over the segregate genera. In truth, these various genera are well defined and generally agreed upon. The only real confusion came with the choice of Beadlea or Cyclopogon. This was settled when a specimen was collected that was a typical Beadlea and it proved to be the type for Cyclopogon! In addition another plant was collected that was clearly intermediate between the two genera. In this case the genus Cyclopogon has priority.


Brown: Whatever Happened to all of the Spiranthes?!

Schiedeella fauci-sanguinea little red spot


Brown: Whatever Happened to all of the Spiranthes?!

The following two lists will give a cross-reference to all of these segregate genera. Spiranthes adnata = Pelexia adnata Spiranthes cinnabarina = Dichromanthus cinnabarinus Spiranthes costaricensis = Beloglottis costaricensis Spiranthes cranichoides = Cyclopogon cranichoides; Beadlea cranichoides Spiranthes durangensis = Deiregyne durangensis Spiranthes elata = Cyclopogon elatus; Beadlea elata Spiranthes lanceolata var. lanceolata = Sacoila lanceolata var. lanceolata Spiranthes lanceolata var. paludicola = Sacoila lanceolata var. paludicola Spiranthes michuacana = Stenorrhynchos michuacanum Spiranthes orchioides = Sacoila lanceolata var. lanceolata Spiranthes parasitica = Schiedeella fauci-sanguinea Spiranthes polyanthus = Mesadenus polyanthus Beloglottis costaricensis = Spiranthes costaricensis Cyclopogon cranichoides = Spiranthes cranichoides Cyclopogon elatus = Spiranthes elata Deiregyne durangensis = Spiranthes durangensis Dichromanthus cinnabarinus = Spiranthes cinnabarina Mesadenus polyanthus = Spiranthes polyanthus Pelexia adnata = Spiranthes adnata Sacoila lanceolata var. lanceolata = Spiranthes lanceolata; Spiranthes orchioides Sacoila lanceolata var. paludicola = Spiranthes lanceolata var. paludicola


Brown: Whatever Happened to all of the Spiranthes?!

Schiedeella fauci-sanguinea = Spiranthes parasitica Stenorrhynchos michuacanum = Spiranthes michuacana Stenorrhynchos lanceolatum = Sacoila lanceolata var. lanceolata The following synopses will attempt to present the differing characteristics between and among the genera. Beloglottis costaricensis: to 30 cm tall; rosette of green leaves withering at flowering time; tiny white and green striped flowers; very rare in southern Florida Cyclopogon cranichoides: to 40 cm tall; rosettes of purple cast green leaves that are present at flowering time; spike speckled with purple; flowers greenish-brown with a white lip; found scattered throughout southern and north-central Florida C. elatus: similar to the above but with greenish-brown flowers that appear to not fully open; very rare; found (formerly) in widely scattered sites in southern and north-central Florida Deiregyne durangensis: 20-40 cm tall; large pale pink and green striped flowers, leaves linear and absent at flowering time; found (formerly) only in southwestern Texas (Garay refers all the US specimens to Deiregyne confusa and differs from D. durangensis in having glandular-pubescent sepals and a differently proportioned lip. Dichromanthus cinnabarinus: 30-50 cm tall; dark green leaves ascending the stem becoming bracts, present at


Brown: Whatever Happened to all of the Spiranthes?!

flowering time; large, brilliant vermilion and yellow flowers; found only in southwestern Texas Mesadenus polyanthus: to 40 cm tall; leaves present at flowering time, withering soon after; tiny flowers rosybrown flowers; very slender and almost invisible in the oak woodlands; found only in central Florida Pelexia adnata: to 70 cm tall; erect basal leaves with long purplish petioles; flowers small with green petals and a white lip, floral bract long and conspicuous; found only in southern Florida Sacoila lanceolata var. lanceolata: one of the showiest of all of the orchids of Florida; colorful, large, brick-red flowers on spikes up to 60 cm tall; leaves absent at flowering time; found throughout southern and central Florida, primarily on roadsides! S. lanceolata var. paludicola: differs from the preceding variety in that it has leaves present at flowering time, few, smaller but more brilliantly colored flowers and is restricted to the Fakahatchee Strand area in southern Florida (occasional reports from other similar areas in south Florida) Schiedeella fauci-sanguinea: to 30 cm tall; leaves in a basal rosette and not present at flowering time; tiny white flowers with a bright red blotch on the underside of the lip; found from southeastern Arizona to western Texas Stenorrhynchos michuacanum: 20-40 cm tall; leaves in a basal rosette somewhat ascending the stem; absent at


Brown: Whatever Happened to all of the Spiranthes?!

flowering time; flowers more or less a one sided raceme, green and white found from southeastern Arizona to western Texas
Paul Martin Brown, editor NANOJ Literature Cited: Balogh, P.B. 1982. Generic redefinition of subtribe Spiranthinae. American Journal of Botany 69:1119-1132. Catling, P.M. 1990 Biology of the North American Representatives of the Subfamily Spiranthoideae in North American Native Terrestrial Orchid Propagation and Production, Brandywine Conservancy, Chadds Ford Correll, D.S. 1950, Native Orchids of North America. Chronica Botanica, Waltham Garay, L.A. 1980. A Generic Revision of the Spiranthinae. Botanical Museum Leaflets 28(4), Harvard University, Cambridge Luer, C.A. 1972. Native Orchids of Florida, NY Botanical Garden, Bronx 1975.Native Orchids of the United States and Canada excluding Florida. NY Botanical Garden, Bronx


Watch this fall for the publication of

Philip E. Keenan
from Timber Press

This botanical travelogue is liberally illustrated with nearly 200 full color photos as well as detailed chapters on wild orchids in nearly all of North America A must for all orchid lovers Ordering information will be in the September Journal


Lake Itasca State Park, Minnesota July 8, 9, 10 & 11, 1998

We will begin at noon on July 8th and continue with speakers' meetings and a wide variety of programs and workshops on July 9th. Field trips on the 10th & 11th will present an opportunity to see a diversity of native orchids in full flower. The two specialties of the conference will be

and a special trip to the international boundary in Manitoba to see


Malaxis paludosa

in one of the largest stands known— in 1996 over 20,000 flowering stems were seen!! Speakers include:

Platanthera praeclara

Welby Smith, author, Orchids of Minnesota Bill Steele, Spangle Creek Labs Larry Zettler, Illinois College Lorne Heshka, Orchids of Manitoba Dianne Plunkett, photographing orchids Mark Larocque, Piperia mysteries Paul Martin Brown, Color Variation and Form Margaret From, Platanthera praeclara Nancy Cowden, Platanthera ciliaris complex

our featured speaker will be


"Recent Advances in the Systematics and Ecology of North American Orchids" and will feature an overview of discoveries since Luer's publications and an analysis of what lead to these discoveries.

Ottawa, Canada, co-author Orchids of Ontario

Dr. Paul M. Catling

To register for the conference send your check for $45 per person to:

North American Native Orchid Alliance
PO Box 759 Acton, Maine 04001-0759

 Space is limited to 75 persons. Due to a few cancellations we still have some space left - do not delay to send in your registration! To reserve rooms or campground space at Lake Itasca State Park call 1-800-246-2267 This is a general reservation number for all of the Minnesota State Parks so be specific about your needs at Itasca—it is a very popular park and you need early reservations. NOTE: If you are an individual and cannot get a room that you want call or write the NANOA office as there are a few people going that have a second bed in their room The field trips for the Malaxis will be held in small groups to several different sites to minimize impact on the plants.