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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Seed Pods!

The blurry brown stalk in the
foreground is what caused
my excitement! (ignore the Garlic
Mustard in the background)
It seems like a strange use of an exclamation point, but I had to express how excited I was by this discovery.   While walking on the trails at Stateline Woods Preserve with some graduate students from the University of West Chester, I suddenly shrieked and dropped to the ground.  I can only imagine the look that they were giving each other until I explained while I was so excited (I'm sure they still did not quite get it, but sometimes it is the little things in life).  My excitement was caused by a lonely stalk jutting up from a nondescript leaf.  Sounds exciting right??

The leaf is the most striking feature of the plant.
Even though I missed the blooming of the  Aplectrum hyemale (Putty Root Orchid) it happened this year. The remaining stalk and seed pods were proof of the bloom.  This  persnickety native orchid does not have the most showy flower, in fact, you may miss it when it is blooming--I have never caught a Putty Root Orchid blooming (EVER!).  Typically the most distinguishing feature of the plant are the leaves which are present through the fall and winter months.  Slowly the leaves fade away, and the orchids that bloom will exhibit a flower in late spring to early summer.  Now that I have proof that at least one of the orchids in the population is blooming, I'm going to spend some time in the late spring/early summer of 2014 trying to capture that ever elusive bloom.  If you find it before me, please let me know!

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