Friday Flower: Yes, it’s an orchid…

Photo details: Canon 100mm macro lens on Canon EOS 50D (manual mode), 36 mm extension, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, f/16, MT-24EX flash @ 1/8 power w/ Sto-Fen diffusers.

…but what kind? Identifying the genus should be relatively easy, but I suspect a species identification will be more of a challenge.  I’ll provide a little information and even a couple of literature sources that might be useful for achieving a specific determination.

  • Date of photograph: October 5, 2009.
  • Location: White River Balds Natural Area, Taney County, Missouri.
  • Habitat: Dolomitic limestone glade.

Answer and more photos will be posted shortly, so give it your best shot. Think big!


Luer, C. A.  1975.  The Native Orchids of the United States and Canada Excluding Florida.  The New York Botanical Garden, 361 pp. + 96 color plates.

Summers, B.  1981.  Missouri Orchids.  Missouri Department of Conservation, Natural History Series No. 1, 92 pp.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2009

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7 thoughts on “Friday Flower: Yes, it’s an orchid…

  1. Most undoubtedly either a Spiranthes cernua or S. odorata (some author consider these synonymous or the latter as a subspecies of the former).


  2. I would have said Spiranthes magnicamporum because the lateral petals seem to be spreading and arching, and your hint of “think big” seems to lead in this direction as well. I don’t know its habitat requirements in Missouri, but I would think it would grow in dolomite glades. I wouldn’t be able to rule out Spiranthes cernua from the photo, however. Mike Homoya, author of Orchids of Indiana, says that there are races of Spiranthes cernua that look morphologically just like Spiranthes magnicamporum, and that you need seeds to distinguish between the two. Spiranthes magnicamporum has monoembryonic seeds and S. cernua has polyembryonic seeds, apparently.

  3. I agree with Scott Namestnik. The habitat seems right, and the date eliminates all of the summer blooming speices. S. magnicamporum is known from dolomitic areas here in IL, and blooms a bit later than S. cernua.

  4. That makes me feel better– had I dared guess (knowing few orchids here in Colorado), I would have said Spiranthes… lucky shot, though.

    But I prefer to compliment you on the excellent corolla texture this photo captures! Very nice…


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