Purple Fringed Orchids

I thought I might share a few photos and some information on an interesting wildflower that I photographed in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park a few weeks back. I photographed this little beauty in a wet ditch along Clingman’s Dome Road in the park.

The Purple Fringed Orchid is a really cool wild orchid that grows in many places in the Eastern U.S. but is not always easily found.  And since I am so lazy tonight, According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center…..

Deeply fringed, fragrant, lavender flowers in many-flowered, elongated clusters on a leafy stem.

A close-up of the individual flowers reveals the striking beauty of the fringed orchids. The method of pollination by moths is interesting. The pollen masses (pollinia) bear a sticky disk that protrudes below the anther. As the moth extends its tongue into the spur of the lip petal and then out again, it pulls the pollen mass from the anther and carries it to another flower where cross-pollination occurs. Small Purple Fringed Orchid (P. psycodes), occurring from Manitoba east to Newfoundland, south to Georgia, and northwest to Tennessee, Missouri, and Minnesota, has smaller flowers. Purple Fringeless Orchid (P. peramoena) has an unfringed lip petal; it grows from Pennsylvania and New Jersey south to Georgia, west to Arkansas, and north to Missouri and Illinois.

But what I also find so curious about this little wildflower is the resemblance of a hummingbird feeding on a bloom that is so cool !!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!


                                                                                                                                                                                     purple fringed orchid 1 2013


                                                                                                                                                                              purple fringed orchid 2 2013

purple fringed orchid 3 2013

17 thoughts on “Purple Fringed Orchids

  1. I found the “Lesser” variety in Northern Maine two years ago and really like this flower very much. The individual blooms look like little whiskered faces…to anthropomorphic me… You have shown them off quite nicely, Bernie.

  2. These delicate orchids look like they could fly away. In the second image, they look like little, funny faces. I especially like the first photo, with the excellent selective focus.
    What lens are you using for your wildflower photos?

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