I was struggling to get photos while making sure two members of my gang, goats Kyle and Kennedy, did not get anywhere near the wild orchids. I used my ditch and distract tactic which involves me walking ahead to a patch of something they really want to eat and then I sneak back to try to take photos without their "assistance." I was able to capture some of my first photos of the orchids.
However while I was distracted, the dogs decided to find a downed tree where the raccoons mark their territory. The area dubbed the "poop log" was enjoyed by all and baths were mandatory after our trek.
But that's just the nature of things 'round here.
I found a really interesting article by Patricia J. Ruta McGhan on the US Forest Service site at www.fs.fed.us. In the post, Ruta McGhan wrote that another name for the lady slipper is the moccasin flower.
"Pink lady’s slipper seeds require threads of the fungus to break open the seed and attach them to it. The fungus will pass on food and nutrients to the pink lady's slipper seed. When the lady’s slipper plant is older and producing most of its own nutrients, the fungus will extract nutrients from the orchid roots. This mutually beneficial relationship between the orchid and the fungus is known as 'symbiosis' and is typical of almost all orchid species," McGhan posted.
She also wrote that lady slippers can live to be 20 or more years old.
The plant is described by www.wildflower.org as " one stalk rising between two broadly elliptical or round basal leaves lying on ground, bearing up to 25 white or greenish-white, bilaterally symmetrical flowers in a raceme."
The post went on to say that moths were most likely the pollinators of the flower.
While I was able to get a photo of one last year, the plants I watched this year never bloomed. They were either eaten or just didn't flower.
That is just the nature of things 'round here.
Story and photographs by Anna Applegate