Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Orchids and Eyebright (Updated)

I love North Country orchids. They can be glamorous like the Showy Lady's Slipper, or subtle, like the Dwarf Rattlesnake Plantain that Carolyn and I spotted hiking the Dry Lake Trail outside of Ely last week (was that just last week? It feels like eons already). This orchid is called the Lesser or small purple fringed orchid (Platantera psychodes), and there used to be gobs of them in Minnesota, but that was before all the wet areas were drained. I am trying to imagine if these are insect or bird pollinated - teeny tiny pair of openings (the flower is 4-9 mm long and 2-6 mm wide) and deep, deep spur. Seeing one in person was a highlight of my up north trip. Another highlight was the Square-stemmed monkeyflower (Mimulus ringens)- another plant of wet-areas, it is one I never thought I'd see, in part because I've never known any one who has seen it or talked about it. This member of the snapdragon family was in a little wet area at the side of a freshly built road into an area being developed with housing by White Iron Lake. The flower's face is said to resemble a monkey's face. Mimulus =Latin for "little buffoon." I much prefer its other common name, Eyebright.


twinsetellen said...

So sweet!

Eryka Jackson said...

the flowers are really pretty...are they they same plant? If not, how can you tell the difference. Sorry its not yarn so I dont know what I am looking at!

beegirl said...

Thanks, Eryka! When I looked at the orchid picture I chose, I could see that I hadn't really shown the individual orchids to their best advantage, so I've changed the pictures. You can see the fringed edge and the deep violet spurs. Now the difference is much clearer!