Family, Orchis. Color, rose pink. Leaf, single, 4 to 6 inches long, narrow, hidden at first, appearing after the flower. Lip, pendent, rounded and toothed at apex, fringed, spotted with purple, with 3 white ridges running down its surface. Other petals and sepals, long, narrow, arching over the petal-like column. Fruit, a capsule 1 inch long. May and June.
One of our most beautiful orchids, but quite local in its habit. In its favorite swamp it reappears year after year with unerring certainty. The flower is an inch long, subtended by 2 small scales. The lip, broadened and gracefully curved, is fringed with soft, purplish hairs. The root is a bulb. From it arises a scape, 6 to 10 inches tall, at first leafless except for 2 or 3 sheathing bracts at its base. From the upper bract, later, the linear leaf grows. Why this orchid should be dedicated to the nymph Arethusa can hardly be explained. Diana changed the nymph into a fountain in order to save her from the pursuit of a too ardent lover. Does the arethusa bury itself in swamps for self-protection against its fond admirers who love it and pursue it almost to its extinction, when once its retreat is discovered?