Stream Orchids: A Native Beauty
Like these exotic beauties? Actually, they belong right here on the North Coast. Cheryl Lisin from the Lost Coast Interpretive Association writes,
Stream orchids are one of the many native orchids growing here in Southern Humboldt. The flowers are colorful and showy up close, but appear brownish green from a distance, making it easy for them to go unnoticed. The ones pictured are growing on rocks in the Mattole River together with torrent sedge. Both plants are totally under water in the winter, clinging onto the rocks even during raging currents in big rainstorms. Stream orchids occur in much of Western North America, growing in swamps and streams. They are pollinated by flower flies.
The stream orchid, Epipactis gigantea has a look-alike, broadleaved helleborine, Epipactis helleborine. Native to Europe but common here, broadleaf helleborine can become an invasive pest in woodland gardens.