Purple fringed bog orchids and Ditch Botany

You know how some roadsides are lined with ferns or Japanese knotweed (invasive, invasive, invasive!) or are dutifully mowed far too often by overzealous town crews?

Well, go to Northern New Hampshire, keep an eye for damp roadside ditches….and you will find orchids! In August there are certain areas of roadside that are FULL of Platanthera species! Ditch botany, as we like to call the search for cool-ass plants (or mushrooms, or lichens, or animals…)from the comfort of the Jeep, is one of our very favorite pastimes. Luckily we have Keith. Even though he is always driving, he had eagle eyes and spots things the rest of us don’t. Just one of a thousand reasons I like having him around!

Plantanthera lacera pycodes cross, purple fringed bog orchid, dirty botany

Platanthera orchid species are very prone to cross-pollination. Cross breeds are very, very common and can make properly identifying the species a challenge. This one appears to be a Platanthera lacera – pycodes cross. Platanthera lacera is known as the green-fringed bog orchid, and Platanthera pycodes is the lesser purple fringed bog orchid.

Platanthera grandiflora, greater purple fringed bog orchid

A little darker color a little meatier (is that a proper way to describe a native orchid? It feels a bit funny…)…. Platanthera grandiflora, the greater fringed bog orchid.

You can not tell me those flowers are not flipping incredible.

Platanthera grandiflora, greater purple fringed bog orchid, dark purpleAnother Plantanthera grandiflora, and an even darker purple color. This is Keith’s picture….I did not get a picture (gasp!!!) because it was first thing in the morning and, as Keith put it, my head was stuck in the moth trap.  He’s probably right. I get distracted quite easily……

Platanthera grandiflora, lacera, psycodes

Ohhhhh, just a few orchids growing along the road, that’s all :).

Platanthera psycodes forma albiflora white fringed orchid, Dirty Botany

Yup. A white fringed orchid. We think it’s Platanthera psycodes forma albiflora…. ? This was a find by Keith.  You know he sees something cool when randomly veers off the road and says “holy shit!”

Platanthera psycodes forma albiflora

It was just starting to pass, but unlike any native orchid we’ve seen! The stem was just packed with blooms; there had too have been a couple of hundred. And it was, of course, white!


the dirty girl at dirty botany
Head dirty girl at dirtybotany.com!
Bug worshiper.
Slime mold fanatic.
Macrophotographer in training.

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