Alberta snapshot: Yellow lady’s slipper orchid.



Yellow lady’s slipper orchid, near Cochrane, Alberta.  Photographed 27 June 2014.

I’m still trying to work out the specific epithet on this beauty: it appears that older literature lists it as Cypripedium calceolus (Eurasian yellow lady’s slipper), but there seems to be a more recent gravitation towards different names for the North American species (of which there are more than one). I’m going to go with C. parviflorum on this, but I’d definitely welcome more information. (UPDATE, December 2017: C. parviflorum it is! Thanks to Ben Rostron for the valuable assistance regarding ID).

No matter what the name, it’s definitely a treat to come across these lovely orchids in the wild!

What kinds of wild orchids grow where you live?

From the Foothills Orchid Society Show, 2013.

More snow and cold and the iciest sidewalks you could ever imagine here in Calgary this week (my boss asked me on Tuesday if I had perfected my triple axel jump during my “skates” to work).  Needless to say, I’m eager for some COLOUR!  I’ve been going through some of my photos and I came across the ones I took at the Foothills Orchid Society Show in May of last year.  I’ve only grown phalaenopsis (moth) orchids and don’t have any experience with the beautiful varieties that were exhibited by these enthusiastic growers and collectors, but I can certainly appreciate these amazing blooms!

Ascocenda 'Princess Mikasa'

Ascocenda ‘Princess Mikasa’

Burrageara 'Stefan Isler'

Burrageara ‘Stefan Isler’

Cattleya intermedia var. orlata

Cattleya intermedia var. orlata

Cypripedium Gisela

Cypripedium ‘Gisela’

Dendrobium harveyanum2

Dendrobium harveyanum

Rhyncholaeliocattleya 'Green Devil'

Rhyncholaeliocattleya ‘Green Devil’


Oncidium McKenzie Mountains ‘Frank’

Have you ever grown orchids?  Which ones are your favourites? 

Related Links –  Orchid Care for Everyone!  (Phalaenopsis)

Striped coralroot.

Coral rootFP

I’m spring cleaning!

Well, sort of.

While it doesn’t actually involve soap and water, I’m in the midst of a good, thorough scrub of my computer and all of its files. (It’s waaayyyy more fun than washing the kitchen walls!).   😉

While reorganizing my photo folders from last year, I came across a couple of images of striped coralroot (Corallorhiza striata).  My hubby and I found these specimens while hiking on the Douglas Fir Trail in northwest Calgary in July. I wish I had done a good macro of one of the flowers – but alas. Still, this view gives you a good idea of how many blooms a single plant can sport at once.

Coralroot is a member of the orchid family, with underground rhizomatous stems that resemble coral. (“Root” is a misnomer). Coralroot is a non-photosynthetic (heterotrophic) plant, and its leaves are little more than scales affixed to the stems. Instead of manufacturing its own food, coralroot is saprophytic – plants obtain nourishment from dead leaf matter, and are assisted by the mycorrhizae bacteria in the soil.

Three types of coralroot grow in Alberta.  The two I haven’t found yet are pale coralroot (C. trifida) and spotted coralroot (C. maculata).  Pale coralroot isn’t the characteristic pink/purple colour of the other two – apparently it is yellow-green, which may be an indicator that it can perform photosynthesis to some degree.

For more information about the symbiotic nature of terrestrial orchids and descriptions of the types of coralroot found in Alberta, click here.

What types of orchids grow wild where you live?  Do you keep cultivated orchids as houseplants?