Biota of The Blue Ridge: Showy Orchis

Elizabethan Ladies in Pink Sun Bonnets with White Bodice

I have a bit of a backlog of spring wildflowers and such that would be suitable for this series-theme, so even though most if not all of these blooming things will have gone to seed–literally–by the time I post them, I’ll do so anyway. Old botanical news is still good news. Eh?

I discovered a large patch of perhaps 20 clusters of Showy Orchis along side our rugged road and not a hundred yards from the outhouse-and-ladder scene I posted a while back.

As you might–and should–know, orchids live in a close dependence on soil fungi–called mycorhizae–and duplicating that association, even with a largish rootball, is almost impossible. Transplanted orchids, for that reason, have a low probability of long term survival. So: leave them where you find them, enjoy them with your camera.

RELATED: My outhouse picture has been pirated. I was showing images in a nearby city a few weeks back and the person exclaimed “That’s YOUR picture? I saw it on another site and you didn’t get credit for it.” Hence, the water-marking of images when I can remember to do it. It doesn’t prevent image theft, but it helps I think.

RE caption: bodice is not exactly the word. What would it be? A white lace flouncy blouse, perhaps, ladies? Or a corset? Interesting reading for both items of apparel.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I liked “bodice” whether is is a real word or not! Writers are allowed a little creativity, right?

  2. It’s a shame people steal other people’s work. I am always very careful to attribute whatever I use on my blog to the proper source. Gorgeous picture – do these orchids grow only in the sun? I have lots and lots of shade and at least one Adam and Eve orchid – couldn’t find it this time – too much greenery!!