Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Green in Winter: Cranefly Orchid

Tipularia discolor produces a single leaf in autumn when the forest's canopy is thinning. The leaf is very distinctive: it has dark warts above and purple color beneath. According to the inimitable Floyd Swink, the leaf is "discolor and datcolor."  Cranefly Orchid sometimes grows in a mixed forest of beech and oak.

The picture below shows how the plant looks when it flowers in late summer. The flowers are thought to mimic the look of craneflies in the genus Tipula, hence the name Tipularia. Both photos from LaPorte County, Indiana.

9 comments:

Jenny said...

Discolor and datcolor indeed!

Thanks for bringing some chlorophyll into this wintry northern blogosphere.

Nick said...

My copy of Swink & Wilhelm doesn't mention his datcolor descripition of Tipularia but check out the treatment of Thistle killya a couple pages before that.

Got any pics of Aplectrum?

Keith Board said...

Thanks for the comments, Jenny and Nick. Also check out Floyd's treatment of Conobea multifida, and read carefully his treatment of Populus deltoides. He was a genius in many subjects, including witty words and puns. Yes I have Aplectrum pics, but hope to get better ones if the snow will cooperate.

Prem Subrahmanyam said...

Interesting. I know this species from Florida, where we almost never have snow, so seeing the leaf contrasted against the snowy ground is quite interesting.

Here is my page of this species with photographs from Florida:

Cranefly Orchid; Crippled Cranefly Orchid; Elfin Spur (Tipularia discolor)

Keith Board said...

Thanks for commenting, Prem. Your Tipularia discolor page is very informative, and the pictures are excellent!

Keith Board said...

Also Prem, we too find that only a small number of the plants flower in a given season. I do recall one year, however, when they flowered by the hundreds in LaPorte County, Indiana and Berrien County, Michigan. I think it was in the mid 1990's.

Nick said...

that Star Wars pun is kinda sorta funny but I wish he'd a' put it under Leucospora.

His story about the Populus deltoides reminds me of the old sycamore stump in Highland Park in Kokomo

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/3343

Keith Board said...

I hope the old tree in Kokomo was as poplar a place to play as the Cottonwood that Floyd and Jerry described!

Raj ni said...

Good to see the amazing world here