ORCHIS FAMILY - Orchidaceae: Arethusa; Indian Pink

Arethusa bulbosa

Flowers--1 to 2 in. long, bright purple pink, solitary, violet scented, rising from between a pair of small scales at end of smooth scape from 5 to 10 in. high. Lip dropping beneath sepals and petals, broad, rounded, toothed, or fringed, blotched with purple, and with three hairy ridges down its surface. Leaf: Solitary, hidden at first, coming after the flower, but attaining length of 6 in. Root: Bulbous. Fruit: A 6-ribbed capsule, 1 in. long, rarely maturing.

Preferred Habitat--Northern bogs and swamps.

Flowering Season--May-June.

Distribution--From North Carolina and Indiana northward to the Fur Countries.

One flower to a plant, and that one rarely maturing seed; a temptingly beautiful prize which few refrain from carrying home, to have it wither on the way; pursued by that more persistent lover than Alpheus, the orchid-hunter who exports the bulbs to European collectors--little wonder this exquisite orchid is rare, and that from certain of those cranberry bogs of eastern New England, which it formerly brightened with its vivid pink, it has now gone forever. Like Arethusa, the nymph whom Diana changed into a fountain that she might escape from the infatuated river god, Linnaeus fancied this flower a maiden in the midst of a spring bubbling from wet places where presumably none may follow her.