Bryant is working on an upcoming thematic series, but since I have enough material from my recent two trips, I thought I’d do one too. This is the first entry in a series on the orchids of Manitoba.
Calopogon contains five recognized species, primarily distributed in the southeast USA and the West Indies. The one exception is today’s species, Calopogon tuberosus, or tuberous grasspink. It has the broadest distribution, ranging from Manitoba to Newfoundland in the north to Texas, Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas in the south. Plants exhibit a morphological cline across its range; plants in the northeast tend to be shorter in height (4-20cm) with smaller flowers, while plants in the south can reach heights of 135cm and have much larger flowers. I would estimate these plants as being approximately 30-35cm in height.
While this species can be considered common (at least to its preferred environments: “acidic soils in fens, bogs, pine and oak savannas, grasslands, interdune swales”) in parts of its range, in some states/provinces (e.g., Manitoba), it is listed as a rare species. I had actually been looking for a different rare orchid I had seen in the area previously, but none of those were to be found this trip. However, as I hadn’t observed this species before, I was satisfied.
Orchids in this genus are exceptional in that they have non-resupinate flowers, that is, flowers that are not twisted upside-down. Most orchids have resupinate flowers.