This was the day I discovered the Calypso Orchid, and I am obsessed.
In many respects, this was not a great hike. It was shorter than we planned, and became an out-and-back rather than a loop, all because logging had disrupted the trail so much it was indiscernible. But, Number One Son was with us (bonus number one) and because we had to back track, Spousal Unit saw a bird fly out from the same spot twice. Number One Son discovered the nest with four eggs (bonus number two). I studied information on NestWatch, and this is most likely the nest of a Dark Eyed Junco. Other possibilities are Brown Thrasher, Song Sparrow and Spotted Towhee.
And then I saw the orchids (bonus number three). A single grouping on a hillside. Brilliant colors. So ornate. I could not wait to get home to look for more information about them.
Calypso is a genus of orchids containing one species, Calypso bulbosa, known as the calypso orchid, fairy slipper or Venus's slipper. It is a perennial member of the orchid family found in undisturbed northern and montane forests. It has a small pink, purple, pinkish-purple, or red flower accented with a white lip, darker purple spottings, and yellow beard. The genus Calypso takes its name from the Greek signifying concealment, as they tend to favor sheltered areas on conifer forest floors and bogs. The fairy slipper requires specific mycorrhizal fungi to survive.
Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis, the Western Fairy Slipper, is found only in the Cascade mountain range and west of the Rockies in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Montana. It has a white beard and a lip that is heavily spotted with brownish-purple.
Linking to Mosaic Monday