orchid trip day three

Slippertalk Orchid Forum

Help Support Slippertalk Orchid Forum:


Peloric keiki
Jan 22, 2008
Reaction score
elmer, nj
on our last day, we went to western cape cod and besides looking for a really good seafood restaurant, went to a few cemeteries and open areas looking for malaxis bayardii and more spiranthes.

we went to the service road to a public recreation field (I think that's what it is), where bayard's adders mouth grows along the woodsy back service road into the field. we were very dismayed to see that the maintenance crews had used a rotary mower and bush-hogged both sides of the path going to the field :sob: . it was pretty disheartening to see a spot where there had been dozens of these rare orchids, plus some all-white forms that had been seen at least a few years back. on one side of the trail they had dropped the mower so low that the ground was tilled by the spinning blade, and dirt pushed aside by the mower case made a small furrow. thankfully on one side they hadn't gone as close to the woods, and we found one plant in flower, untouched. there may likely be more plants in the far edges and places in the woods, but still pretty sad. we also found two other plants of bayardii that had been mowed and beaten up, but hopefully will come back up next year, flower and make more seedlings. there very well could also be other plants that were mowed but the ground was untouched, that will also come back up


a battered bayard's adder's mouth orchid next to my gps unit


path to field, note the soil 'burned' along the trees. that zone is where there used to be the most orchids


top of an adder's mouth, showing seed pod (plant and flowers are tiny, tiny, tiny)



the next stop was an old cemetery nearby that had spiranthes vernalis and spiranthes lacera var. gracilis. also probably some hybrids of each. a few years ago there had been a plant of goodyera pubescens in flower, but neither flowers nor plant could be found at all. plant count was also quite a bit lower at this site

spiranthes vernalis


vernalis showing brown spots on the lip which is unusual



our last stop of the trip was to the area in front of the waquoit bay estuarine reserve, and the old, small cemetery right next door. both areas had spiranthes orchids. the reserve had a fair number of spiranthes lacera var. gracilis and maybe a few hybrids with spiranthes tuberosa, and the cemetery had a decent number of spiranthes tuberosa, some var. gracilis and maybe a few hybrids (no vernalis)


spiranthes lacera var. gracilis in front of the estuarine center


slender ladies' tresses, note the dark green in the throat


spiranthes tuberosa (little ladies' tresses) in cemetery


spiranthes tuberosa

this trip was fun, I hope you all enjoyed the tour and the pictures. the people at the estuarine center were very nice and helped us find a very good seafood restaurant (cooke's), where lunch was very good! thank you very much!


Just call me Tom
Jan 12, 2008
Reaction score
Kyushu, Japan; warm temperate/subtropical climate
Seafood dinner and an orchid hunt sounds like a perfect day to me!

I know your pain seeing those Malaxis chomped like that...I had a similar experience a couple summers back here with an extremely endangered plant (Odontochilus hatusimanus, only two known locations IN THE WORLD). I was carefully watching a large patch growing right beside a trial - over 30 plants in one area with many flower spikes. I went back the day I was sure they would be in flower only to find all of them mowed to the ground by a trail maintenance crew that very morning! AHHHH!!!! Most of the plants have recovered since, but what a mess.

Having said all that, these margin areas or often the perfect spot for orchids and typically they are maintained by human activity. I can't tell you how many orchid colonies I've seen go into decline because of lack of fire (or mowing) or being overgrown with woody species. It's a delicate balance. Let's hope these little guys rebound in the seasons to come - I'm betting they will!


Oh, they're beautiful! I love the Cape, and now have another reason to go back besides the food, ocean and the lighthouses. Gorgeous shots! Thank you!