Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Crane Fly Orchid

If you go out in the woods today, you may find a native, terrestrial crane fly orchid/Tipularia discolor.  In autumn, the crane fly orchid corm sends up one leaf, a dark green, almost black leaf, puckered lengthwise, with a hint of purple midrib. 

If you check, the backside of the leaf is purple also. It is amazing how such a small thing stands out on the forest floor. They persist throughout winter taking advantage of the missing leaf canopy. Usually by late spring or early summer the leaves die back and in late summer a leafless, bottlebrush-like stalk of tiny flowers appears. Snuggled against the moss covered root of a tree, the ones in my garden survive no matter how much mowing or leaf removal or lack thereof.  I love finding natives in my garden. Have fun. Explore.


  1. I've never seen this orchid before. I do love the purple leaves and will have to watch out for it. I hope it shows up in my garden!

  2. Great blog and this is especially nice since I'm very much interested in native orchids. Not one that grows in our area but very interesting.