Aug. 10, 2021

three-birds orchid, Triphora trianthophora

Three-birds orchid flowers are about an inch high, on stalks less than a foot tall. This is one of our truly elusive wildflowers, a woodland ghost! They bloom very briefly, sometimes for only a few hours. They grow in forests, and appear in mid summer. So you have to spot them amid all the other taller undergrowth. It helps that they tend to grow in patches, spreading by horizontal stems. They are most often pink. Squirrels eat the roots, and one report of a dense patch turned out to be a squirrel cache of the roots, still growing and blooming. Three-birds grows in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL(T), GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, and ON. Fulton Co OH, 8/7/15.