30 May 2011
Cee-lo in Indiana!
No... not that Cee-lo...
This Cee-lo... Coeloglossum viride var. virescens, aka Frog Orchid or Long-bracted Green Orchid. I had long hoped to see this inconspicuous orchid in a mesic upland forest setting in the Hoosier State, but until a couple of weekends ago, when Keith Board and I were aided by excellent directions to a known population consisting of a single plant, I had been skunked. Sure, using directions to find the plant wasn't the same as finding a population on our own, but it was still exciting, and now I have a better search image for finding this plant in its Midwestern habitats. At this location, it was surrounded by May Apple (Podophyllum peltatum) and Clustered Black Snakeroot (Sanicula odorata).
Prior to seeing this species in Indiana, the only time I had seen it before was in Colorado, where the associated species and habitat were quite different; I posted about that find here.
Don't blink or you'll miss those flowers. In fact, as we approached the location, I spotted the plant, bent down and took a quick look, and told Keith it wasn't flowering. He told me to check again, and sure enough there were tiny yellowish green lips hanging down beneath the hood-like calyces. The flowers were quite a bit smaller than what I remembered on the plants I saw in Colorado; in Colorado, the plant is known as Coeloglossum viride ssp. bracteatum. All of the varieties and subspecies are now taxonomically lumped together, and the plant is currently known as Dactylorhiza viridis. No matter what you choose to call it, this is one cool orchid that was certainly worth the trip to see it.