Jan. 13 Find for Today Crane-fly Orchid



Just a quickie post. The great thing about hand-pulling wintercreeper  (besides seeing it disappear) is that it gets your face close to the ground. And then you SEE things. How often do we breeze through the forest in a green cloud of unseeingness? Pulling invasives by hand is a real antidote, as today’s post illustrates.

So there I am pulling away when what should I see but these lovely linearly folded bright green leaves. I have stumbled onto the only known (at present) site of the Crane Fly Orchid, Tipularia discolor.



you know you’ve found this orchid if the underleaf is purple

That is, only known site in our forest. Saw one or two of these orchids in our forest many, many years ago but never saw them bloom. (It’s never a really common plant, always just here and there on the forest floor). But in our case I suspect the deer would have made short work of this one if they could have. Orchids are very high on the list among the thousands of plants they will browse. In an odd twist of fate, this one plant was likely protected by a thick spikey stand of invasive privet surrounding it, as well as being snuggled up next to a log.



When I first saw this same plant in the summer, it was lovely with bloom – that’s how I found it. I quickly arranged a makeshift brush pile around it – my technique for  discouraging the attentions of deer. To prove that reality is indeed stranger than fiction, this orchid depends on its pollinaria attaching to the eye of a small moth, for pollination to occur. I am not making that up.




One thought on “Jan. 13 Find for Today Crane-fly Orchid

  1. Phyllis Fitzgerald

    How interesting! I think I’ve seen those leaves before, but not in the preserve; maybe at Natural Bridge. I’ve never actually seen it blooming. Good eye!


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