Apparently the Orchids have established themselves in a somewhat exclusive and aristocratic circle requiring an especial dispensation to become intimately acquainted with them. This popular notion, however, is more of an illusion than a reality, for barring occasional remote, swampy retreats, they are really quite as inviting and hospitable as any of the less dignified flora. It is true that they are a prodigal family, and, as a rule, their very nature is retiring and seclusive. Consequently they are less frequently discovered, but if one knows where to search for the various species, and about what they should look like, he has a better chance of finding them. The flowers are always six-parted, usually consisting of three similar sepals, or coloured petal-like parts; two lateral, or ear-like petals; and directly below these, a curious third petal, which is generally conspicuously coloured, and called the lip. The lip is always peculiarly formed, and should be carefully noted. Sometimes it is shaped like an inflated pouch, or a cornucopia, or a spur; again it is broad, or long and narrow, and its edge is finely fringed or bearded; or it may be flat or curved, twice or thrice cleft, grooved, ridged, short or long, extended or depressed, and so on. The leaves are all sheathing, and have an entire margin. The Showy Orchis is a beautiful, charming and one of the earliest blooming species. It inhabits deep, rich, moist woods, especially under hemlock trees, from April to June, when it grows from four inches to a foot in height. The single, thick, fleshy and five-angled stem springs from between a pair of large, thick, shining and clammy oblong leaves which are broadest toward the bluntly tapered tips and narrowed into a groove at the foot. From three to six fragrant, inch-long flowers are clustered on the stalk, each with a clasping leaflet and forming a short, loose, terminal spike. The small, club-shaped sepals and petals look much alike, and are curved together, forming a violet, purple and white, or pink-tinted, pointed hood, beneath which the large, thick, spreading, white lip is prolonged into a blunt, flattened spur. The flower-stem is noticeably twisted and the roots are fleshy fibred. This species is our only true native Orchid, and is found from New Brunswick to Ontario and North Dakota; and south to Georgia, Kentucky and Nebraska. It is not common.