Large Purple Fringed Orchis (H. Fim-Briata) is the largest and perhaps the most beautiful of the genus. The pale purple flowers are nearly twice as large as those of the last species; the lip is more deeply fringed. The densely flowered spike is about two inches in diameter and often is twelve inches long. The leafy stem attains heights of from 1 to 5 feet. It is a magnificent plant, the sight of which is well worth the inconveniences necessary to visit its haunts. It grows in swamps throughout the U. S. and southern Canada.
All the orchids of this genus are cross-fertilized through the agency of insects. The long slender spur, of most of them, is peculiarly adapted to the tongues of sphinx moths and some of the butterflies. In trying to reach the extreme end of the nectar tube, the moth presses its face into the opening. Its large eyes come in contact with a sticky button to which two pollen masses are attached by slender stalks. When the head is withdrawn these are firmly attached to the eyes. When he reaches the next flower, these masses are in the correct position to be deposited on a sticky stigma, just where they belong. While we might think a moth would be greatly inconvenienced by these incumbrances, we must remember that his eyes are composed of numerous small ones so that the loss of sight of a few is unnoticed.
A. Grass Pink; Calopogon.
Calopogon; Grass Pink (Calopogon Pulchel-Lus) is an exquisite orchid with a loose raceme of four to twelve delicate pink flowers, at the top of a scape ranging from 6 to 15 in. long. The flowers are apparently upside down as the lip is at the top; it is narrow at the base but broadens into a broad hooked tip, crested on the under side; the column, just below the lip, has a stigma at the end, and just below is a two celled antler, each cell containing two pollen masses. A single grasslike leaf sheathes the flower scape near its base, as it rises from the solid bulb. It grows in deep swamps and bogs, from Newfoundland to Minn, and south to the Gulf, flowering in June and July.
Arethusa; Indian Pink (Arethusa Bulbosa) has a solitary magenta-pink blossom topping its slender scape that rises from 5 to 10 in. in height. The petals and sepals are similar in shape and in their proper positions at the top of the flower; the lip rises, then abruptly turns downwards, broadens and is adorned with three to five yellow and white crests; margin of lip wavy and sometimes spotted with crimson. A single linear leaf is hidden in a sheath at the base of the scape; it only protrudes after the flowering season. From Newfoundland to Minn, and south to Pa. and Mo., Arethusa has been found blooming in swamps during May and June.