New England southward and westward.
Flowers: clustered in dense raceme-like spikes. The large lip one and a half inches long; three-parted; fan-shaped, and extending into a long, slender spur; deeply fringed and more highly-coloured than the other parts. The upper sepals and petals toothed. Leaves: alternate; lanceolate; becoming bracts as they approach the flower; oval, pointed, and clasping at the base.
This most beautiful and showy of the purple-fringed orchids, while apparently simple, is devised in the same profound manner that the family have chosen to aid them in securing the services of insects for cross-fertilization. In most orchids the perianth is in two sets, of three divisions each; the outer set answers to sepals, and the inner set, to petals. The sepals are highly coloured and harmonize with the petals. By a peculiar twist of the ovary, what would naturally be the upper petal is brought down and forms the lower one, or lip. It is the startling feature of the flower; and is rich in blandishments for Master Bee. In some varieties it appeals to his artistic sense by a delicate fringe, or a superb colour, and again it supplies him with a substantial meal of nectar. The internal structure consists of one stamen, formed like a column, and supported by the style or broad, glutinous stigma. In the cypripediums there are two. stamens. Just above the stigma at either side are placed the two anther cells. Here the pollen grains are concentrated in little quantities, which are readily carried off by insects to other flowers.
The divergent anther cells of H. grandiflora suggest the two eyes of a moth, or butterfly, whose appearance the flower has tried to imitate.
The small purple-fringed orchis is more faithful to the swamps than the larger one, which strays sometimes to the moist meadows. It comes into bloom a little later in the season, and is not so handsome a variety; but it has a delicate perfume.
Another more severe type of a purple orchis, which rarely comes further north than Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It is found in wet meadows, or seeking moisture by following the mountains. In size it is between that of the two preceding species. The lip is not fringed; but it is cut-toothed in a way that gives it a very stiff, prim expression. In July and August we may expect to find it in bloom.