the queen and her retinue (part 1)

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Jan 22, 2008
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elmer, nj
one of my last native orchid postings I listed four queens of the forest, but this time the real queen ladyslipper cypripedium reginae is the highlight of the trip!

a few months ago I was contacted separately by two noteworthy orchid people Leon Glicenstein and Tom Nelson. Leon used to be employed by Hoosier Orchids before they closed, and to my surprise he is also very interested in native orchids and is a serious photographer of them. Tom Nelson is an extremely avid native orchid enthusiast, and also is a very avid seeker and photographer of them along with his wife and family who often attend trips to wherever there are orchids in north america. most likely he is on another trip right now! both have key orchids that they needed pictures of. Tom also is making a field guide for new england native orchids. both needed pictures of platanthera macrophylla, so I gave them directions to where they could see it in the hammond hill state forest between ithaca and cortland, ny. another orchid notable who ended up attending the trip was certifiably insane orchid collector and SlipperTalk forum member Eric Callender! (nyeric) his manhattan apartment is completely filled with slipper orchids (plus a few other interesting types) and there seems to be no send in sight... one of his favorite orchids is the native slipper cypripedium reginae, the queen or showy ladyslipper. I mentioned to him that a few were gathering for this trip, and that a few hundred showy ladyslippers had been spotted at two different fens near cortland, ny and he quickly bought bus tickets up north.

after I picked eric up at the bus station we headed towards ithaca and tried to make a side trip first to 'the hollow - orchids and herbs' to check out their tolumnia species and hybrid orchids. it turned out that they were available by appointment only (closed) and due to the lack of cell phone service we weren't able to call and ask the owners if they could come to the greenhouse. i'm sure if they knew that eric and his credit card were going to make an appearance, they would have rolled out the red carpet (smile)! I had a feeling that we might be late meeting others so we headed over the state forest roads to hammond hill state forest to the appointed meeting spot. nobody was there, yet so we started walking in and looking for padleaf orchids

(there will be a lot of pictures in this thread so I will have to break them up a bit. Tom Nelson also forwarded me several of his orchid images and I will include some of them here, duly marked and copyrights firmly intact)

eric and I looked around a bit, and found some goodyera pubescens which will flower later this year. we all found some padleaf orchids, but none in flower. bard prentiss mentioned that his friend had found one flowering on a trail not far away so everyone was going to hike over to the other spot. I had seen some plants on the other side of the trail in previous years, so suggested to matt young that we look over there, first. my hunch paid off, as a few minutes later matt found a nice plant in full flower!


right as we started driving down one of the forest roads, I saw a cluster of white admiral butterflies sipping mud on the dirt path



Leon Glicenstein getting some nice images of platanthera macrophylla which is just to the left of the maple sapling in the image


Tom Nelson had a very large light tent which blocked the wind


This is an edited close-up of one of Tom's pictures showing one of the flowers



a cluster of goodyera pubescens (somewhat shaky snapshot)


close-up of the goodyera pubescens - note the emerging flower stems


for the bug-lovers here, I took a pic of this dragonfly sunning itself on the tire of my bike. there were two, but the one kept chasing off the other

more soon in new reply or thread