A Rare Find

A couple weekends ago, my husband and I went for a drive to parts of the county we had not been to in years. As usual, I scanned the landscape for beautiful vistas and wildflowers. That morning, we saw scarlet-red cardinal flowers, buttery-yellow evening primrose, white Queen Anne’s lace, an intensely purple blossom of a wild raspberry – all fairly common roadside flowers that I can easily identify, even from a distance.

When I saw a yellow-orange flower, somewhat set back from the road, I could not match it with any wildflower that I knew. It took a while for my brain to wrestle with this puzzling image before I asked my husband to stop the car. He backed up and I grabbed my camera. While he waited in the car, I climbed up a small hill and gingerly found my way through some thorny brambles all the while chastising myself for not wearing long pants and my solid walking shoes. I made a note to check my body for deer ticks when we got home.

When I reached the plant, I still did not know what it was but I suspected that it might be an orchid. And there was a small stand of them! Unfortunately, I had the wrong lens on my camera, so the image is not quite as sharp as I would like it to be. But I was not going to return to the car and then climb back up with a different lens…

stand of yellow fringed orchids

And up close:

yellow fringed orchid

yellow fringed orchid

The flowers I found are yellow fringed orchids (Platanthera ciliaris Lindley), and they are fairly common in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and even in the county South of us. However, this orchid has never been reported in my county before, further North and at higher elevations. It was a thrill to discover this beautiful wildflower in its habitat and to add another native orchid to the already diverse list of flora in our area.

Oh, and I did check for ticks and found none.

Reference: Stanley L. Bentley (2000) Native Orchids of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare.

About Beauty Along the Road

My name is Annette. I am passionate about nature, health, simplicity, self-reliance, truth, and life-long learning. Originally from Germany, I now live in Virginia, USA. I am a therapist, health coach, writer, photographer, and organic gardener.
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37 Responses to A Rare Find

  1. Hi Annette, I am glad that you got the tick. This is truly a beautiful kind of orchid and you captured it beautifully. My neighbor has lots of them in her front yard and I get to clip them, put them in a glass of water and let them grow roots and put them in a pot with soil. They are easy to grow and love to blossom every season again and again, don’t need much water. Enjoy

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    Hi Annette,
    What a beautiful, rare find! Really pretty. I love that you climbed up and saw it up close and personal, and so glad you didn’t get any ticks!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. bythebriny says:

    A beautiful find!

    Like

  4. Pingback: Rare (Angry Water Cans) | What's (in) the picture?

  5. Tish Farrell says:

    What an exciting, and very lovely find, Annette.

    Like

  6. Marie says:

    Well spotted! What a delightful find.

    Like

  7. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare | stenoodie

  8. A rare find indeed. Its good you decided to stop or else you wouldn’t discover this beauty.

    Like

  9. True beauty! I’ve never seen such a flower…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. shoreacres says:

    I’m mostly unfamliar with native orchids. Until a year ago, I didn’t know that we had some here in Texas. The ones sold in the grocery stores for Mother’s Day are lovely, but I’d take this find over those. It’s a beautiful plant. Not only that, BONAP shows it as native, and present here, only two counties away. Thanks to you, I might be able to identify it if I see some.

    Like

    • If you learn about their native habitat (e.g. forests or meadows or forest edge) and when they are in bloom, you have something to start with. It is amazing how many native orchids we have, certainly different and often less flashy than the tropical orchids we know from the store, but still intriguing and magical in their own ways.

      Like

  11. wvbirder says:

    Very nice! That would be a new flower for me. I have seen many of the fringed orchids here in WV but never the orange fringed. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Annette, they are gorgeous! What a find. Amazing that they survive in the Southern Appalachians.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is amazing to me how any of the rare plants continue to re-produce themselves despite enroachment. But there are still so many untouched and un-visited areas in these mountains, I often wonder what’s out there that we don’t know about….

      Like

  13. kutukamus says:

    A rare find, yes
    But really
    All the pictures
    Are doing just fine🙂🍸

    Like

  14. They are so beautiful! They are similar to the air orchids we have here in Queensland. What a wonderful find!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. http://www.australianorchids.com.au/collections/other-orchids/products/3741900
    Me too. The ones I referred to are called Crucifix. See attached link.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. babl says:

    I plan to reblog your post in my blog https://hellocreativestimes.com. Since you have enabled reblogging on your post, I am assuming that you are allowing others to reblog this post. However, if you have any objection to reblogging your post, please let us know as soon as possible. Thank you.

    Like

  17. Vicki says:

    I Love/Hate the article about the trash left in the forest/woods. It was not because I thought that U shouldn’t, BUT… more like U SHOULDN’T have been given the chance to HAVE TO write about it!!!
    Some of my ‘fellowmen’ make me deeply upset/concerned about what… if anything. .. what are they THINKING about when they just dropped the trash on the ground in the 1st place, but even more so, when they walked away from the mess… !!! In their defense, please allow me to speculate that… MAYBE THEY CAME BACK FROM THEIR HIKE, FOUND THE TRASH THERE (left by someone else) … and they CLEANED it ALL up!!! Whew… I feel better already… on their behalf!!!

    Like

    • Hi Vicki – you are probably referring to my “Open Letter” post – yes, that was such blow to my sense of aesthetics. I don’t know what people think when they throw their trash out into nature. They probably don’t think, that’s the problem😦

      Like

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