In search of an orchid

We walked, on Mother’s Day, in the woods and along a small steam. Our objective was to locate the Pink Lady’s Slipper, Cypripedium acaule, that Joanna had seen the week before. She observed then that it was not in bloom and judged that a few more days might be enough to bring out its showy labellum. Interestingly this plant lives symbiotically with a fungus which goes by the name of Rhizoctonia. The tiny plant embryos are released from their protective seeds only as a result of the interventions of the fungus. Moreover, and unlike other plant seeds which obtain nutrient stores from something called the endosperm, seeds of this slipper orchid are dependent upon fungal hyphae for nourishment during their earliest stages of growth and development. Although we did relocate the individual that Joanna had seen earlier, it was in shade. We did however find an area with several of these beautiful spring wildflowers growing closely together. Although these were nicely illuminated each was still several days from flower. Hope for good weather, check back soon and I promise to get back to the woods to photograph these beautiful orchids. On the walk down the mountain I couldn’t resist a long exposure of the water which cascaded, noisily, in the run nearby. Those who follow this blog will know that I have something of a habit of getting my feet wet in support of just the right image. Because I did not have a set of hip waders along, and to afford just the right angle, I ventured into the water with my sneakers and jeans. The spring run-off was bracing and I scalishscaloshed all the way home.

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