Orchids in my Back Yard, and in my Garden

pink lady slippers;cypripedium acaulae;orchids;pictures; Orchids in my Back Yard, and in my Garden

23 May 2016

The wild orchids near our home were starting to look like something special this week. And the hardy orchids in our garden opened this week, too. (Coincidence? I think not. Probably in honor of my new book coming out in May about an orchid hunter? Yeah, that must be it...) Please follow this link to a gallery of photos of the wild orchids, and some in my own garden.

One of the wild orchids indicated it had been visited by a pollinator. The main pollinator for this type of orchid is the bumblebee. The bumblebee enters through a slit in the big pink blossom, and then finds itself unable to exit the way it came in. These orchids have two "escape" routes for the pollinators, at the upper left and right side of the blossom. The pollinator must pass ovaries and anthers on the way out, hopefully fertilizing while trying to make its exit. Once an exit has been used, the sepal on that side drops naturally, apparently blocking off the light that indicates an exit, prompting further pollinators to use the other exit, maximizing the chance of fertilization. Nature is so cool.

Another shot in the gallery shows a seed pod from the previous year still on the stalk that last year's fertilized bloom was on. It is in very good condition.

And finally, the end of the gallery contains shots of orchids in my garden that are blooming at the same time. Enjoy!

© - Erica Obey
Photos © - George Baird