Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mystery Orchid

Becky, a former seasonal naturalist at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest, came off the boardwalk with an image of a flower she wanted identified. Naturally, it was not a flower that is frequently seen and the combined knowledge of the staff could only narrow it down to the orchid family. Several field guides were checked, but no matches were found. The Internet may have plenty of dark, dangerous alleys, but it sure makes it easy to identify unknown specimens.

After referring to Richard Porcher's original flora survey of the Francis Beidler Forest, we began searching the Internet using Google's image search option. Entering Tipularia discolor in the search field brought up a large selection of images that matched the ones we took near #2 on the boardwalk. Our mystery orchid is the native Cranefly Orchid, which can be found from Texas to Michigan and east to the Atlantic Ocean.

Bonus points if you can identify the three-leaved plant in the background!

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