Calypso bulbosa 2

Calypso bulbosa, fairy slipper
About the earliest orchid to flower in March and perhaps the prettiest.
Some years we are lucky enough to have large numbers on Mt. Tamalpais under Douglas-fir, from Rock Spring to Laurel Dell particularly.


Corallorhiza maculata 2       Corallorhiza striata 2

Corallorhiza maculata, spotted coral-root:  Corallorhiza striata, striped coral-root: 
A parasitic/mycotrophic orchid usually associated with Douglas-fir. The non-spotted variety is var. occidentalis, it is often associated with broad-leaf trees such as coast live oak and bay-laurel. This orchid usually flowers in May in broad-leaved evergreen forests. Usually several plants grow on Mt. Burdell near the western water-tank access road. Other sites include Roy’s Redwoods, San Geronimo.

 Epipactis gigantea 2 PORE Bull Pt       Epipactis helleborine 2

Epipactis gigantea, stream orchid: Epipactis helleborine, broad-leaved epipactis

Flowers in June in Samuel P. Taylor State Park, along Lagunitas Creek.
Also in the marshes near the Bull Point trail, Point Reyes National Seashore

This is an orchid that is a weed! It has spread widely in Marin from an accidental introduction.

 Goodyera oblongifolia IMG 1918c       Cypripedium californicum Brousseau

Goodyera oblongifolia, rattlesnake-plantain: Cypripedium californicum, Lady’s slipper:
This orchid is one of the latest to flower in August on Mt. Tamalapais. It is most easily found along the trail from Rock Spring to Laurel Dell under Douglas-fir trees. The last time this orchid was found in Marin was above Muir woods, adjacent to a stream in a serpentine area.
Alice Eastwood made a fine herbarium specimen of it but that may have been the last one.


Piperia elegans ssp elegans IMG 4404c2       Piperia elegans ssp decurtata 2

Piperia elegans, coastal rein orchid:

Marin has two subspecies: ssp. elegans is reasonably common along the coast and flowers in July and August. ssp. decurtata is very rare and grows only on the Chimney Rock peninsula and near the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse. The two ssp. differ in perfume and flower-spur length.



Piperia elongata 2 IMG 0176c       Piperia michaelii IMG 0762c

Piperia elongata, long-spurred rein orchid: Piperia michaelii, Michael’s rein orchid:
This species grows in several places in Marin and flowers in June and July. It can usaully be found in the woods along the east side of Deer Island in Novato. Reported only once in recent years -from the granitic hills It can usaully be found in the woods along the east side of Deer Island in Novato.

Piperia transversa 2 IMG 3758c2       Piperia unalascensis Gratiot

Piperia transversa, ” horizontal-spurred” rein orchid: Piperia unalascensis:
Easily found most years in June and July in the woodlands of Mt. Tamalpais. Less commonly seen on Mt. Burdell, Novato, on the rocks just west of San Andreas Drive fire road Uncommon in Marin and usually in flower May and June in woodland above Fairfax.

Platanthera dilatata var. leucostachys IMG 0533s

Platanthera leucostachys, marsh orchid:
This orchid is most easily seen on Point Reyes, in marshes (not acid bogs) in June and July.
The marsh near the Bull Point trail is a good bet, if the cattle spare them. The flowers are fragrant.



Spiranthes porrifolia  IMG 0286c       Spiranthes romanzoffiana

Spiranthes porrifolia, western ladies’-tresses: Spiranthes romanzoffiana, hooded ladies’-tresses:
Not that common in Marin, grows in moist places on Mt. Tamalpais, Reasonably common in wet meadows on Pt. Reyes in July and August.
such as around Lake Lagunitas in July.  


Photos by Doreen and Vernon Smith except as noted.                              © Copyright, 2013, by Doreen and Vernon Smith

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