A few more Colorado native orchids

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These are not especially showy, but I ran across them today when I was hiking, so I thought I'd share. These were found today about 60 miles west of Fort Collins growing at 9500 feet.

I'm not really sure what they are :) That is, the first two are Platanthera (Habenaria) species (or maybe two color forms of the same species?), and the second one is probably Corallorhiza maculata.


This first one was quite green, and was hard to see against the grassy background, so I used a black backdrop.

The rest of them were white, but not as densely spaced on the inflorescence.



This last one is just to give you an idea of the size of the blooms.... that's a mosquito.



I must have taken 20 photos of a couple different groups of these, and none of them turned out well. I couldn't get my tripod close enough to the ground, so I just tried to snap a few hand held, which didn't work out.

I guess I'll have to go back another day with better equipment... I just couldn't get any close-ups. Still, it was exciting for me to find so many different orchids all in the first mile of the trail :)

- Matt
These photos look pretty good to me...definetly can get the size correlation. Thanks for sharing them.
The photos are fine. Do you think these are pollinated by mosquitoes??? If so, maybe they are good for something, after all...
Matt, the first one is most likely Platanthera aquilonis (aka hyperborea) while the three whites are P. dilatata. I actually did my Master thesis on the pollination ecology of P. dilatata. They are pollinated by skippers(to a lesser degree) and moths (primarily). The spur contains the nectar and is too long for the tongues of bees to reach, while moths and skippers have the right size tongues. (Spiranthes on the other hand have short spurs and are pollinated mostly by bees). Mosquitos are not a known pollinator for Platanthera.
Thanks :)

I think that mosquito was just taking a break after feasting on my blood. I very very rarely run into mosquitoes while hiking in Colorado (it's just too dry), so I even more rarely remember insect repellent. This time, I happened to be near a river and swampy area (as you no doubt guessed by the Platanthera), and I was eaten alive. I counted 22 bites on my arms and hands, and didn't even bother with my legs. Lesson learned :)

Thanks for the help Todd! I've been looking at photos on the net to help me ID, and that is what has been most frustrating about my own photos... they just aren't good enough for me to be able to distinguish all of the features that I'd like to be able to see, and I don't have enough experience with them to be able to make an educated guess.

What's even more frustrating is that I saw another orchid up there in the same area and didn't recognize it as an orchid until I saw a photo of it yesterday evening while trying to ID these :)

- Matt

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