Saturday, September 18, 2010

Prophetstown Fen Spiranthes

Last Saturday I attended an INPAWS field trip to Prophetstown State Park near Lafayette, IN.

The focus of the field trip was to see the fen, which I had never been to. The park is fairly new and not too far away, so it is worth a visit. Most of the park is restored/planted prairie. The prairie is a little lacking in diversity, but the Big Bluestem was impressive. The fen was to the left of the Sycamore stand in the background. The field trip had a good turnout, despite the sprinkles. I was happy to see a fen.

I found this Spiranthes orchid while venturing out to identify a tree. (It turned out to be a Persimmon.) There were several around. I believe that this is Spiranthes cernua, since it has a larger lip, multi-ranked flowers, and nodding flowers.

I love close-up views of Spiranthes. This is the same flower as the photo above. The flower was on a stalk that was at least 18 inches.

This Spiranthes was in the same fen, but quite a ways from the first orchid. This was near the open marl run that had a lot of wonderful fen species like Grass-of-Parnassus and Purple False Foxglove blooming. I believe that this is Spiranthes ovalis, since it is on a slender stem with small flowers, a lip that is less than 5mm, it wasn't flowering in the spring, it didn't have a green center, and the flowers were arranged in three ranks.

Close-up of the S. ovalis. According to Orchids of Indiana by Homoya, this is primarily a southern Indiana species that occurs further north along the Wabash River. It is supposed to prefer partial shade, which was not the case here, but it was in calcareous soil.


beetlesinthebush said...

Spiranthes are so lovely!

Scott Namestnik said...

Were you able to rule out S. magnicamporum for the first two photos? Those lateral sepals appear arched and ascending.

It seems that S. ovalis is increasing in the northern part of the state (even further north than the Wabash River). Always good to see it, though... and it's tough to beat a two Spiranthes day!