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Wild Orchids of Northern Ontario

Orchids! The mere name conjures images of large, delicate and exquisite flowers found in equatorial jungles. Around the world, there are over 1,000 genera and approximately 20,000 to 30,000 species of orchids, mostly found in the tropics where they are parasitic and grow on other plants. In other areas, they are usually terrestrial and some species can grow as far north as the Arctic. Orchids (family Orchidaceae) are probably the largest family of flowering plants in species numbers but are rarely dominant. Some species are being driven into extinction due to destruction of their habitat. In this area, we are fortunate to have excellent growing conditions for several species that have adapted to a northern climate. None are of the size that would be associated with a lady's corsage while several are extremely small and can be passed by without being noticed at all.

Throughout the Temagami area, in a few select locations, can be found several species of rare wild orchids that are native to northern Ontario. A few local species are considered rare anywhere in Canada and are listed as growing (across North America) "as far north as southern Ontario". A photo of this orchid, the Nodding Ladies' Tresses, can be seen below. Growth is noticeable after the last dangers of a spring frost have passed and the flowers of some species will begin to bloom in late May while others start in late August and continue through September. The best bloom time can vary by up to a couple weeks, depending mainly on spring's arrival time which varies each year. Also, not every species will bloom every year which I can only suspect is dependant upon a perfect combination of sunlight, temperature and precipitation.


If anyone knows of any species not listed below that are in bloom anywhere in the greater Temagami area, I would appreciate hearing about them so I can photograph and add them to this ever-growing list. Credits will be issued for guide services.


A word of advice for guests wishing to photograph these flowers: be prepared to get wet! Orchids characteristically grow in floating peat bogs, fens, swamps and marshes as well as in other low laying wet soil conditions. Knee high rubber boots or a very old pair of running shoes are the preferred footwear for these excursions. Only a few select species can live on drier ground such as those found on forest floors. Insect repellent is a necessity during May and June and is optional during the remainder of the summer.

It is imperative that extreme caution be taken while photographing these delicate plants so as not to inflict any harm to the plant, its root system or any other flora in the immediate area. Attempts at transplanting orchids into garden areas have historically proven to be detrimental or fatal to these exquisite plants due to the differences in sunlight, soil acidity and moisture. Therefore, I highly discourage people from even considering this malicious act.


2014 ORCHID REPORT.

Saturday, August 2, 2014. At the present time, the Purple Fringed orchids are in full bloom and they have a rich color to them this year. Although they are't as plentiful as in the past, there are good showings in several locations. Club Spur, Tall White and Rein orchids are still in bloom but the Grass Pinks and Rose Pagonias are all but finished for another summer. I'm expecting them to be in bloom for another week to ten days before going to seed.

Saturday, July 12, 2014. The Pink and both large and small Yellow Lady Slippers have dried up and gone to seed now. There are a very few Arethusas (Dragon's Mouth) remaining but countless Grass Pinks and Rose Pogonias can be found everywhere. This has been one of the better years in memory for these two species. There are a few of the large Showy Lady Slippers left but only in shady areas. New emergents today inluded the Tall White Bog Orchid, Club Spur, Blunt Leaf Rein and Purple Fringed Orchids. All four are in bud with their characteristic colors barely showing yet. Within a week, they will be prime. Noticably absent were any sign of Early Coralroot, Twayblades, Menzies, Northern Green and Long Bracted Green Orchids. A few Checkered Rattlesnake Plantains were sighted but none were showing a flower stem.

Friday, June 27, 2014. They are finally here! I've been anxiously waiting for the spring orchids to appear and they are just coming on strong now. The pink slippers are all but gone, as noted last week, but we had little difficulty finding the small yellow lady slippers. The white form of the Pinks was again photographed in the only known location that I've ever located them in and then late in the week I found another pair of white slippers where I've never seen it before and it's fairly close to home. For the bog (damp area) orchids, we had a wonderful day today finding several species including Arethusas, Grass Pinks, Rose Pagonias, Large Yellow Lady Slippers, the beautiful Showy Lady Slippers and even 2 more locations of the Large Yellows where I have never observed them before. Conspicuously absent were the Heart Leaf Twayblades. Early Coralroot, Menzies, Tall Whites, Northern Greens and Round Leaf orchids. I'm doubting if they will even show this year when they haven't even started any leaf growth by now. Hopefully, the Club Spurs, Spotted Coralroots and White Adder's Mouths will show later this summer.For the non-orchids, the Pitcher plants and Sundew are in full bloom and the Buckbean is almost finished. For anyone wishing to observe and photograph these, I'd suggest that the next 7 to 14 days will be their peak bloom time and after that, they will wither and die quickly.

Friday, June 20, 2014. As I mentioned in the former posting, everything is behind schedule this year and orchids are still slow to appear. Pink lady slippers are still seen in most places but they are on their way out for this summer. Small yellow lady slippers aren't far behind them but are still bright yellow. Dragon mouth orchids (Arethusa) are in full bloom and Rose begonias are just coming on. The Grass pinks are just coming through the ground and should be in bloom in a week. Ditto for the Showy lady slippers that are 18" tall now and should be in bloom within a week. There isn't any sign of the Tall white, Early coral root or Tall northern green orchids which should be up by this time of early summer. For the non-orchids commonly found in the same locations, the pitcher plants are just coming into full bloom and the small red Sundews are everywhere and in full bloom. Both will stay like this for most of the summer. The Buckbean has finished flowering in most locations and they now sport bright lime-green seed pods. Black flies are almost gone for this year but there seems to be an overabundance of mosquitoes everywhere.

Sunday, May 25, 201.4 We have had an unusually long and late winter this year and everything is way behind schedule for spring emergence times. Pink Ladyslippers which are usually up by early May and in flower by now still have not poked through the ground. I don't expect them to bloom before the middle of June this year. I had a group tour in the White Bear Forest last weekend and the highlight of the trip for the kids was a snowball fight in the forest. This past weekend on another tour, the snow has finally melted but there's still little sign of any plants growing. I'm in there on a regular basis and will post any findings here.


The 25 various species of native wild orchids that I have identified are as follows:

The Pink Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) or Pink Moccasin Flower is one of the earliest flowering orchids in the area and appears from late May through mid June every year. At 8 to 12" (15 to 30 cm.) with a bright solitary pink flower, it is quite common and can easily be seen growing among other plants such as twin flowers, wintergreen or Canada lilies in the drier acidic soils of undisturbed old growth forests of red, white and jack pines. The two large leaves growing from the bottom of an elongated pubescent (hairy) stalk resemble the leaves of an oversized Lily of the Valley. The sac can vary in color from light- to dark-pink (as seen here in the left photo) from year to year. Very occasionally, there will be an all-white form of the flower (as seen here in the right photo) that is known as Cypripedium acaule forma albiflorum. Plants can grow as individuals or in tightly packed groups of up to 8 or 10.

The Small Yellow Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum var. makasin) is a small, dainty orchid of 6 to 15" (15 to 40 cm.) with a brilliant yellow lip sac up to 1" (2.5 cm.) long that is compressed vertically and has 3 long tightly-spiralled, glossy petals that are dark reddish-purple. With a sweet but strong vanilla fragrance, it can often be located by scent before being observed. Found mainly in very damp and acidic swamp locations, the blooms will last up to 3 weeks in early June. The leaf pattern on the soft stalks more resembles the Showy Lady Slipper than the Pink Lady Slipper.

The Large Yellow Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens) can be difficult to distinguish from the Small Yellow Lady's Slipper without close examination. Initially, it is much taller at 16 to 22" (40 to 60 cm.) and can grow in a variety of light and soil conditions from full sunlight to shadows such as openings in swampy coniferous forests to dry open rocky locations. It can grow as a single plant or in bunches of up to 50 plants. The bright yellow egg-shaped lip sac is compressed horizontally and the inside of it is spotted and/or streaked with dark rusty-red. Light greenish-brown petals are abnormally long and only slightly spirally twisted. The dorsal sepal of the same color arches down over the sac with all 3 being united behind the sac. Deep veined leaves are rather pubescent (hairy) and can be quite toxic to some individuals. Blooms last 2 to 3 weeks from early to late June but have little or no scent to them.

The Early Coralroot (Northern Coralroot) (Corallorhiza trifida) can be easily identified by the white color on its three lobed lip which sits atop a smooth, leafless greenish-yellow stalk of the same color. It has a paler tubular sheath around the lower parts of the stalk. Growing in clusters of up to 30 stalks, it is found on cool shady soils under conifers (balsam, spruce, pines) or mixed forests with added birch or poplar in early to mid June. Standing at 4 to 8" (10 to 20 cm.), it can be found in locations near Rein Orchids or Checkered Rattlesnake Plantain Orchids. Bright yellow, drooping, fat seed pods in the late summer are more conspicuous than the earlier flowers.

The brightly colored Arethusa (Arethusa bulbosa) or Dragon's Mouth Orchid makes a very brief appearance in early to mid June in fens that are fed with cool running clear water. Although quite common in some years, it can be completely absent for the next one or two years. A short orchid of only 4 to 8" (10 to 20 cm.), it is found in the same growing areas as the Grass Pinks, Rose Pagonias and non-orchid plants such as the Pitcher Plants and occasionally Sundews.

The Grass Pink Orchid (Calopogon tuberosus) has a very bright purple/pink flower with an equally bright yellow stamen and long, grassy-like leaves. It also has a short life cycle that can vary from early June to mid July and is also found in cool water fens where it prefers bright sunlight. A relatively rare but tall orchid at 10 to 24" (25 to 60 cm.) with several flowers opening from the bottom up on one long, woody stem, several will be found growing in close proximity. Its "neighbors" include Arethusas, Rose Pagonias and Pitcher Plants.

The Rose Pogonia (Pogonia ophioglossoides) or Snake Mouth Orchid is a very delicate and beautiful but rank smelling flower, similar to the odor of a snake. The short lived pink flowers appear for only four to seven days from early June to mid July. Extremely rare overall but abundant where found, it also inhabits fens and peat bogs and prefers bright sunlight. One of the shortest bog orchids, it is only 3 to 8" (8 to 20 cm.) and has just one leaf, similar to the Lily of the Valley, growing from the bottom of each stem. Its "neighbors" include Arethusas, Grass Pinks, Sundews and Pitcher Plants.

The Long Bracted Green Orchid (Coeloglossum viride) is probably the greenest of all the green orchids with the stems, leaves and tiny flowers all being of the same dark and rich green. This plant, at 25 cm., is typical of the 15 to 40 cm. size range. Flowers are very inconspicuously tucked close to the stalk where the obovate leaves wrap around it. The lip of the flower is quite noticeable and extends horizontally out from the base of the flower. Located in rich woods of both deciduous and coniferous trees, it usually flowers in early to mid June. Like the Early Coralroot, the seed pods (seen here in early July) are more obvious than the flowers.

The Showy Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium reginae) is the largest and showiest of the wild orchids. The name, reginae means "queen" and is indicative of this beautiful plant. The "wings" are white with the bulb being colored with pale to deep pink stripes, often almost completely coloring the large bulb of the "slipper". The white, triangular stamen is tipped in yellow and is sterile. Both the flower and stalk are waxy in appearance but are covered in fine hair which some people find to be irritating and occasionally toxic. Being extremely fragrant, it is often located by smell alone before the flowers and tall stems of 18 to 30" (50 to 80 cm.) give it away. Several deeply ribbed, bright green leaves spiral up the stalk. This orchid can be very prolific one year and then be completely absent for up to 4 or 5 years. It grows in boggy cedar swamps in close proximity to cold bottom fens. Occasionally, there may be 2 flowers on the same stalk. With a short life span of only a few days, flowers appear in late June through early July.

The White Adder's Mouth Orchid (Malaxis monophyllos) has one of the smallest flowers of all the orchids. There can be up to 25 or 30 of them evenly spaced along a 6 to 8" (15 to 20 cm.) stalk. Found mainly in boggy cedar swamps and fens, they can be easily overlooked since their green, fleshy stalks and flowers blend in with the sphagnum moss they live in. A single, waxy and solitary, deep-veined leaf sheaths the stem part way up the stalk. Flowers appear in late June through early July.

The almost inconspicuous Heart Leaved Twayblade (Listera cordata) derives its name from the horizontally-flat, heart-shaped pair of opposing leaves half way up its pubescent (hairy) stalk. The flowers (3 to 5 mm long) can vary from white to slight tinges of either green or purple (seen here) and only last from 3 to 5 days. The seed pods, which resemble tiny balloons, form quickly after pollination of the flowers. At 2 to 4" (5 to 10 cm.), it is one of the smallest orchids and grows in "cold bottom" fens with sphagnum moss areas under cedar and spruce trees near Rein Orchids and Lesser Rattlesnake Plantains. Although it is extremely rare, it can be found from early June through mid July.

The Menzies' Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera oblongifolia) has a basal rosette of 3 or 4 oblong leaves, easily distinguishing it from other Plantains although it has the least-marked checker-board leaves. Common to shady areas under cedar and spruce trees, it can be nearly unnoticeable if found in thick sphagnum ground cover. Three to ten greenish-white flowers appear to be growing only on one side of the hairy stalk which can be from 4 to 10" (10 to 25 cm.) in height. The flowers last quite a while from late June through mid to late July.

The Purple Fringed Orchid (Platanthera psycodes) most closely resembles a Hyacinth flower in both appearance and fragrance. Each dime-sized, lilac colored flower on the stalk has noticeably fringed three-parted lips and the leaves are long and grassy shaped. At an overall height of 6 to 18" (15 to 50 cm.), it is easily recognized in open wet meadows, gravel swamps and is rarely seen growing very far from open water. Flowers appear from late June through mid to late July. Occasionally, a very light colored (white) version of the flower can be found.

The Tall White Bog Orchid (Platanthera dilatata) is the only known snow white orchid in this area. Reaching a height of 8 to 24" (20 to 70 cm.), it can be found in bright sunlight and stands out against the green vegetation. Extremely rare overall, it can be found in fens in close proximity to pitcher plants and sundews. It is also a very fragrant flower and smells like vanilla or cinnamon. Note: the wide base of the lip of the flower is uncharacteristic of most orchids. Flowers appear from late June to mid to late July.

The Spotted Coralroot Orchid (Corallorhiza maculata) shows the greatest variety in stem and leaf color of all the local orchids. It can range from orange-yellow to brown to pinkish-purple which is most common in this area. Overall, all orchids are rare but this species is quite common and ranges from Newfoundland to southern B.C. to northern Mexico. Growing in dryer soils under mixed conifers and deciduous trees. the tall, smooth, leafless stalks of 15 to 50 cm. (6 to 18 inches) have tubular sheaths on its lower parts and flowers of the same or darker matching colors. The pure white lips of the spur-less flower have dark pink spots, hence the name. After flowering, the drooping seed capsules are quite obvious.

The Tall Northern Green Orchid (Platanthera huronensis) is very similar to the Tall White Bog Orchid except that these flowers are a rich greenish-white instead of pure white and it has a different shaped lip. It also has that fragrant vanilla/cinnamon aroma but the plant itself, is not a common sighting. Reaching a height of up to 3 feet (1 meter), each plant can have 1 to 10 stalks growing from the same base and these stalks are deeply veined and very dark green in color. The hardy and robust plants prefer to grow in moist to wet conditions that are at least partially shaded and protected from strong winds. They can bloom starting in late June but are usually found from ealy to mid July

The Green Adder's Mouth Orchid (Malaxis unifolia) is a very small and rare orchid that can only be found in acidic spots in fens and other clean water locations, usually growing at the water's edge on humps of sphagnum moss that face the sun. Although the whole plant barely reaches 4 to 7" (10 to 20 cm.), it can easily be identified by the light green, flat-topped raceme of extremely small blooms (perhaps 40 to 50) that span 1/2" (1 cm.) in width. The single leaf appears as overly large for the small plant and sheaths the smooth stalk about half way up it. It blooms from early to mid July.

The Blunt Leaf Rein Orchid (Platanthera obtusata) is a very small and well camouflaged orchid and one of the few known to be pollinated by mosquitoes. Extremely rare, it is found in "cold bottom" soils close to cold water fens and in proximity to the shade from white cedars & black spruce and near trailing plants such as wintergreen, twinflower or creeping snowberry. At 2 to 8" (5 to 20 cm.), it has a smooth stalk, one basal leaf wrapped around the stalk and up to a dozen pale green flowers from early to late July.

The Lesser Rattlesnake Plantain Orchid (Goodyera ripens) has a distinctively different and much smaller dark green basal leaf group with pale, chlorophyll-lacking borders than either the Menzie's or Checkered Rattlesnake Orchids. It closely resembles a snake's skin pattern and prefers a much damper "cold bottom" location than these other two. At a maximum height of 4 to 6" or 10 to 15 cm., it is the smallest of the Rattlesnakes. Small white hairy flowers tinged in green or brownish-pink on a pubescent (hairy) stalk appear from mid-July through mid-August. It is found in cool sphagnum moss under spruce or cedar trees and near Twin Flowers, Rein Orchids and Heart Leaved Twayblades.

The Club Spur Orchid (Platanthera clavellata) is easily identified by the club-shaped spur of this small unassuming orchid (height of 4 to 10" or 10 to 25 cm.) that thrives in large colonies in acid soils of sphagnum moss, white cedar, black spruce and tamarack trees. A single leaf, half way up the stem and a few smaller leaflets farther up combined with a bright green-yellow flower head also make it easy to recognize. It's "neighbors" includes the sundews, pitcher plants and occasionally the Pink Lady's Slipper. The horizontal flowers on each stem can be seen from mid July through mid August.

The Checkered Rattlesnake Plantain Orchid (Goodyera tesselata) is a late blooming flower found in dry acidic soils consisting of decaying pine and/or spruce needles in old growth forests. The checkered leaves are a mix of light and dark bluish-green and usually appear in groups of four that surround a short hairy stalk of the same color. The noticeably hairy cluster of very tiny greenish/bluish/white flowers appear from late July through early September and will last for about three weeks. The basal rosette is 1 to 2" (3 to 5cm.) wide and stems are 4 to 8" (10 to 20 cm.) tall. Plentiful in some years, it is a sporadic orchid that may not appear again for two to four years.

The Round Leaf Orchid (Platanthera orbiculata) has two waxy green leaves the size of small plates laying flat on the ground at the base of a very long stem. Rare and distinctive with leaves, stem and flowers (at a height of 6 to 20" or 15 to 50 cm.) all of the same shade of green, it can be found in very acidic soils of deep pine needles in shady undisturbed old growth forests. It will grow only leaves in the first year, followed by leaves and the flower stalk in the second year and then nothing appears in the third year before re-emerging the next year. Leaves appear in mid to late June with white-tinged, green flowers emerging in mid July through mid to late August. Note the long thin lip.

Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine) is a very common orchid found throughout the area in gravel roadsides, sandy areas, dense pine forests or occasionally in lawns and gardens. Dark veined leaves are smooth underneath and slightly hairy above. The tip of the stalk often bends over and downward while in bud but will straighten to 12 to 24" (30 to 65 cm) when flowering. Several flowers along a purplish stalk are pale green to light pink with a greenish lip occasionally tinged with dark purple or red. Each of the short stemmed flowers sit over a long thin bract off the stalk. Flowers appear from late July through mid August. It can grow as a single stalk or in groups of up to four or five plants.

The Nodding Ladies' Tresses Orchid (Spiranthes cernua) is probably the rarest of all the orchids in not only the Temagami region but throughout Ontario as well as most of Canada. Growing only on the sunny north shore of a fast flowing creek and in very shallow soil conditions that are completely submerged during the peak flow periods of the spring run-off, about 75 to 100 of these small orchids were observed along a 50 yard (meter) length of the shoreline. They can usually be found in open moist areas with neutral or slightly acidic soils. Varying in height from 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm), a spiralled spike of delicate white flowers with a butterscotch/vanilla aroma is densely wrapped around a hairy (pubescent) stem that is smooth below the flowers. The long and thin leaves, growing mostly at the lower portions of the stem appear to wither as soon as the flowers begin to bloom in late August to mid September, making it the last orchid to flower in this area.

Although the Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea) is not an orchid, I have included it in here with them because it is common to find it growing in bogs and fens alongside several of the orchids mentioned above. It is one of the few carnivorous plants found throughout the Temagami area and is approximately 4 to 6" (10 to 15 cm.) in length and 1 1/2 to 2" (3 to 5 cm.) in diameter. Found from early June through freeze-up in the autumn, the base of the plant (flower stalk is not shown) fills with rain water and the interior walls of the bulb secrete a slippery substance with a pleasant aroma to which small insects are attracted. After entering the bulb, they're unable to climb back up the slippery walls and perish in the watery liquid where they're dissolved and absorbed.

Another carnivorous non-orchid found in clean-water bogs and fens, the Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) can be found growing just at the waterline or within clusters of green or red sphagnum moss in near proximity to the Pitcher Plant and some of the orchids mentioned above. Although rare overall, when located, there are literally thousands of them and they appear as a red line hugging the waterline and are approximately 1 1/2 to 3" (3 to 5 cm.) high with each plant having a diameter of the same measurements. Those found dispersed in the patches of red sphagnum are much smaller at a height and a diameter of 1/2 to 1" (2 to 3 cm.). This photo is a close-up of the plant where the soft and sticky cactus-like needles produce a sweet smelling substance that small insects are attracted to and are then dissolved and absorbed by the host. A soft fleshy plant, it is found from early June through autumn.


Latin Name

Common Name

Photo

May

June

July

August

September

Cypripedium
acaule

Pink
Lady's Slipper
(Moccasin Flower)
Orchid

Late

Mid

Cypripedium
parviflorum

var.
makasin

Small Yellow
Lady's Slipper
Orchid

 

Early
to
Mid

     
Cypripedium
parviflorum

var.
pubescens
Large Yellow
Lady's Slipper
Orchid
 

Early
to
Mid

     

Corallorhiza
trifida

Early (Northern)
Coralroot
Orchid

Early
to
Mid

Arethusa
bulbosa

Arethusa
(Dragon's Mouth)
Orchid

Mid
to
Late

Calopogon
tuberosus

Grass Pink
Orchid

Early

Mid

Pogonia
ophioglossoides

Rose Pogonia
(Snake Mouth)
Orchid

Early
to
Mid

Coleoglossum
viride

Long Bracted
Green Orchid

Early
to
Mid

Cypripedium
reginae

Showy
Lady's Slipper
Orchid

Late

Early

Malaxis
monophyllos

White
Adder's Mouth
Orchid

Late

Early

Listera
cordata

Heart Leaved
Twayblade
Orchid

Late

Mid

Goodyera
oblongifolia

Menzies'
Rattlesnake Plantain
Orchid

Late

Mid
to
Late

Platanthera
psycodes

Purple Fringed
Orchid

Late

Mid
to
Late

Platanthera
dilatata

Tall White Bog
Orchid

Late

Mid
to
Late

Corallorhiza
maculata

Spotted
Coralroot
Orchid

Early
to
Mid

Platanthera huronensis Tall
Northern
Green
Orchid
Mid
to
Late
Malaxis
unifolia
Green
Adder's
Mouth
Orchid
    Early
to
Late
   

Platanthera
obtusata

Blunt Leaf
Rein
Orchid

Early
to
Late

Goodyera
repens

Lesser
Rattlesnake Plantain
Orchid

Mid

Mid

Platanthera
clavellata

Club Spur
Orchid

Mid

Mid

Goodyera
tesselata

Checkered
Rattlesnake Plantain
Orchid

Mid

Mid

Platanthera
orbiculata

Round Leaf
Orchid

Mid

Mid
to
Late

Epipactis
helleborine

Helleborine
Orchid

Late

Mid

Spiranthes
cernua

Nodding
Ladies' Tresses
Orchid

Late

Mid

Sarracenia
purpurea

Pitcher Plant

Early

All

All

Late

Drosera
rotundifolia

Sundew

Early

All

All

Early


2005 ORCHID REPORT.

In 2005, I had positively identified seven different species of native northern orchids and at that time, I was certain that there are at least five more orchids that would be located in future field trips in coming years if the growth conditions were ideal for those select species.


2006 ORCHID REPORT.

In the summer of 2006, I found two more species that were not part of the previous year's list of suspected orchids: the Bog Orchid was first observed on July 13 and then the Rein Orchid was found on July 19. On July 23, I found several of the club spur orchids (one of the suspected five other orchids) which had not been visible a few days earlier. This brings the total identified species of orchids in the Temagami area to ten, as of today. The search continues for the other four.


2007 ORCHID REPORT.

It's spring, 2007. I have literally stumbled upon another new (to me) species of orchids today, June 9. While searching (without any luck) for a couple of different species that are reportedly in the area, I located a small but rather dense patch of Early Coralroot orchids. Three more species to go.

It is now July 3 and new species of orchids appear every time I get a chance to explore the forest. Exquisite in both size and fragrance, the Showy Lady's Slipper was very obvious in places that I've never seen it before. An unpredictable orchid, it can lay dormant for up to 4 or 5 years before suddenly appearing in thick masses. It was known to be one of the "usual suspects". An unexpected find, growing amongst the countless Lady's Slippers, was the new-to-me White Adder's Mouth Orchid. Thirteen down and still 2 known species to locate.

Two more unknown orchids were located on July 8, 2007. After close examination, they were identified as the Heart Leaved Twayblade (at 3 inches tall) and the Menzies' Rattlesnake Plantain Orchid. The latter was first believed to be a Checkered Rattlesnake with poor leaf markings but was soon distinguished from its close relative. On July 24, 2007 another new orchid was located which was determined to be a Lesser Rattlesnake Plantain Orchid with its distinctive "snake-skin" pattern leaves. Also noted at this time were budding Helleborine orchids which were photographed in early August. This brings the total to 17 identified species of native northern wild orchids. There are still two species known to grow in the Temagami area that I have not been able to locate. Maybe next year.


2008 ORCHID REPORT.

Spring 2008. Due to a colder than normal May and early June, everything is 2 to 3 weeks later than normal this year. However, after much searching, on June 20 I have located countless Small Yellow Lady's Slippers which are catalogued below. With their odor of rich vanilla flavor coupled with a light breeze, they were easy to locate in damp acidic areas under birch and spruce. The following day, June 21, another new species was seen in flower that wasn't noticed yesterday. This time it was the Large Yellow Lady's Slipper. This brings the total number of identified wild orchid species to 19.

Just a few days after Labor Day, I received a phone call from a friend who had seen several white flowers that he thought to be an unknown species of orchids located along a creek in the Temagami area. On September 15, I was able to allocate an afternoon to seek out these flowers and found them to be a very rare orchid not only in Temagami or in Ontario but in most of Canada! It was the unmistakable Nodding Ladies' Tresses and there were countless white flowered specimens along a 50 yard stretch of that creek. It is the last orchid to bloom in Ontario bringing it to a total of 20 different species that I have identified over the years. It has been another great summer with three new species being identified. As for last year's 2 species known to grow in this area, they are still waiting to be photographed and documented at a later date.


2009 ORCHID REPORT.

The spring of 2009 arrived two weeks later than normal and hence, almost all living organisms are running a couple weeks behind schedule, even in mid-summer. Therefore, I'd suggest adjusting the chart at the end of this page by a couple weeks to obtain the best flowering times for various orchids. Once everything began their flowering cycles, there was a profusion of orchids in places never noted before. The early Pink Ladies' Slippers had the deepest shades of pink that I have ever seen and the photos were updated to reflect this color change. Early Coralroots were taller, brighter yellow and were found in several new locations. Heart Leaved Twayblades were photographed during their very brief, one- or two-day flowering cycle for the first time ever.


2010 ORCHID REPORT.

It is getting harder and harder to locate, photograph and document more new species of orchids but perseverance has paid off well. The Twayblade flowers were the first "new" findings and then on July 27, what was first though to be a new location for the White Bog Orchid actually turned out to be my first glimpse of a Tall Northern Green Orchid with deep green flowers on a pair of 30" stalks. More of these majestic beauties have been located around the Temagami area. On July 30, another new species of orchids, the Green Adder's Mouth was identified which now brings the total to twenty two different orchids growing in the Temagami area. Rein Orchids, previously thought to be rare to this area can be located quite easily in most "cold bottom" spruce swamps this year. Lesser Rattlesnake Plantains are also very abundant this summer and their colors are very rich and deep. Club Spur flowers, previously seen in fairly tight groups in select locations can be found across a much wider range this year but each of the flower heads are not as large nor as dense as previously noted and appear thin and lanky. The Purple Fringed Orchids, always a vibrant deep purple were observed with a few of the stalks having white flowers which is just a color variation from the normal purple.

On June 8, 2010, I was told of an all-white colored Pink Lady's Slipper blooming among several pink ones deep in an area of old growth red pines. After memorizing the "verbal map directions", I grabbed the camera, headed out and found it exactly where I was told it would be. White ones are extremely rare and now this beauty can be seen beside the common pink ones below. Thanks Wendy.

July 11, 2010. I have had several photo tours during the past week for orchids and at the present time, there are several (perhaps a dozen or more) species in flower. The Arethusas, Early Coral Root and Heart-leaved Twayblades are long gone now as are all of the local species of Lady Slippers including the pink, showy and both the small and large yellow ones. However, there are still some Rose Pagonias and several Grass Pinks around. In maximum bloom are the Purple Fringed, the Tall White Bog Orchids, the Round Leaved Orchids, the Blunt Leaf Rein Orchids and the Northern Green Orchids. Club Spurs are just poking through the sphagnum and the Checkered Rattlesnake Plantain are up and showing good bud formation. I haven't seen any Menzies or Lesser Rattlesnakes but I would imagine they could be found with a little more ground work. Helleborines are reaching full bud stage and their stalks should be straightening out and bursting into bloom in the next week or so. I haven't had the chance to check on the Nodding Ladies Tresses or Green Adder Mouths yet. Noticeably absent are the White Adder Mouths but perhaps I have just missed them. Overall, it has been another great summer for locating all of these little beauties now that the black flies are gone and mosquitoes & deer flies are starting to disappear.


2011 ORCHID REPORT.

June 13, 2011. I've just finished my year's first orchid tour today and the overall results were less than anticipated. In the drier soils of the White Bear Forest, there were noticeably less Pink Lady Slippers than in previous years, although they showed some of the deepest and brightest pinks in their "slipper" ever. Other species that should have been up and either in or close to bloom were barely through the ground. Similarly, in the bogs and fens, all orchid species were either not showing yet or were 10 days to 2 weeks behind schedule for normal bloom dates. Only a few of the Arethusas were found to be in bloom. Noticeably absent were the Grass Pinks, Rose Pagonias, Tall White Bog Orchids, Tall Northern Green Orchids, Heart Leaved Twayblades, Large Yellow Lady Slippers, Round Leaf Orchids and Showy Lady Slippers. For anyone wanting to view the many species of wild orchids, I'd suggest allowing 10 days to 2 weeks of extra time this year.

July 3, 2011. While riding my ATV on a local forest trail to access a back lake for an afternoon's fishing, I came across a plant in the middle of the trail that was obviously an orchid. Upon closer examination, it was guessed to be a Long Bracted Green Orchid that had obviously passed the best flower stage and was well on its way to seed pods. Checking my reference books back at the lodge, my hunch was confirmed. Although the photo isn't the best possible, I have posted it anyway and will have to wait until next spring for a better one. The new total species to date is now twenty-four.


2012 ORCHID REPORT.

June 3, 2012. This year has basically been a repeat of last year's first tour. We've had an extremely dry spring so far which has created almost desert-like conditions in the forest and there is an obvious lack of any greenery yet. I had my first guided tour on May 30 and we didn't see even one spring mushroom and only found 5 single plants of pink ladies' slippers and another group of 6 plants where we should have observed literally hundreds of them. The basal rosettes of the checkered rattlesnake plantain orchids that I had noticed a month ago while trimming brush and fallen trees off the walking trails had all dried up and died so there weren't even any of these showing now. On a happier note, we have received over 3" of rain since then (which has lifted the cross-Ontario fire ban) so we should be seeing new growth shortly. I haven't been through the bogs and fens yet to notice how those orchids are coming along. It would be safe to assume that all species will be later than normal again this year before they reach their prime flowering stage.

It is now late July and there has been significantly less orchids this summer. Several species were completely absent and others were in fewer numbers. All were later than usual for their best viewing times. Hopefully, the late summer and fall orchids will be as common and plentiful as in normal years.


2013 ORCHID REPORT.

June 4, 2013. It has been a late spring this year and all plant life is about 2 or 3 weeks later than normal in the forest. The orchids are no exception. Pink lady slippers are just starting to appear now. The location that has the single white variety has 2 stalks this year for the first time ever.

June 12, 2013. As you may have read above, 2 years ago I found a Long Bracted Green Orchid that had gone to see in early July. Last year, I returned to this area in mid June and it hadn't even broke through the ground yet but being a dry year, I thougth this may have had something to do with it not growing. This year was a later than normal spring and today I see that it hasn't come up yet.

July 2, 2013. Hoping to see it emerging, I went back again today but was disappointed once more that it hasn't emerged yet. I'll give it another couple weeks and if it hasn't come up by then, I'll just write it off for this year also.


2014 ORCHID REPORT.

June 8, 2014. It's been an unusually late spring this year and everything is running 2 to 3 weeks later than normal. Both the Pink and Small Yellow Lady Slippers are just coming out in bloom now. Not as plentiful as in some years, the Pinks can be located in old growth areas with lots of pine needles on the ground. In the next few days, I'll be making the trip to check on the white variation of them as well as looking for the Long Bracted Green Orchid that has not emerged and flowered since I found the stem with seed pods on it about 3 years ago.


Check-in times for weekly packages are after 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays and check-out times are before 11:00 a.m. on the following Saturdays. For overnight packages, the same times apply for each day. Please inquire about any variations that can be made to these time schedules.

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Key Benefits

  • Easy access by motor boat, canoe or land trails to the White Bear Forest.

  • Free instructional lessons on all guided tours.

  • Knowledgeable staff to assist you with species identification.

Prices

Description

Guiding

Daily Rates

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5 or More

Half Day - $100.00

$25.00 p.p.

Whole Day - $150.00

$40.00 p.p.

Water Taxi
(to White Bear Forest)

$35.00 minimum or $20.00 per person

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