ORCHIS FAMILY - Orchidaceae: Calopogon; Grass Pink

Calopogon pulchellus (Limodorum tuberosum)

Flowers--Purplish pink, 1 in. long, 3 to 15 around a long, loose spike. Sepals and petals similar, oval, acute; the lip on upper side of flower is broad at the summit, tapering into a claw, flexible as if hinged, densely bearded on its face with white, yellow, and magenta hairs (Calopogon = beautiful beard). Column below lip (ovary not twisted in this exceptional case); sticky stigma at summit of column, and just below it a 2-celled anther, each cell containing 2 pollen masses, the grain lightly connected by threads. Scape: 1 to 1-1/2 ft. high, slender, naked. Leaf: Solitary, long, grass-like, from a round bulb arising from bulb of previous year.

Preferred Habitat--Swamps, cranberry bogs, and low meadows.

Flowering Season--June-July.

Distribution--Newfoundland to Florida, and westward to the Mississippi.

Fortunately this lovely orchid, one of the most interesting of its highly organized family, is far from rare, and where we find the Rose Pogonia and other bog-loving relatives growing, the Calopogon usually outnumbers them all. Limodorum translated reads meadow-gift; but we find the flower less frequently in grassy places than those who have waded into its favorite haunts could wish.