Bletilla striata is one of the most recognized and commonly grown terrestrial orchids in the world, and yet in the wilds of Japan it has become a rarity. When I first came to Japan I thought this would be one of the first orchids I’d encounter in nature, while in fact I saw for the first time in its native habitat only yesterday - a full 17 years after coming to this country. That was not due to lack of trying to find it. Just to the northeast of Fukuoka City is a limestone plateau (technically called a karst formation) complete with caves, sinkholes, and exposed limestone features. The limestone here forms vast boulder fields of crystalline limestone that is constantly weathering, creating crystalline grit that mixes with the peat created by the surrounding grassland. This substrate is ideal for this species to grow, as well as a number of other orchids and a great variety of other unusual herbs. The common wild colored form is very vibrant. For more about this species check out my blog post: Bletilla striata I will also have a video out fairly soon about the trip to this lovely place (I hope!).