Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Weeding Mishap

While weeding last week I found a mystery plant with a bloom spike. Today I went back to have a look and work on an ID. I think I may have stepped on an orchid, a Platanthera lacera, Green Fringed Orchid to be precise. The main stem is broke, but not completely. Hopefully it still has enough circulation and will try to bloom. The flower bud looks more expanded than last week.

The descriptions I have read of the Green Fringed Orchid sound like what I am seeing, a single stalk rising from the ground with 2 to 5 glossy, oblong leaves reduced to bracts near the top and with parallel veins. If it survives to bloom I will know for sure if it is the fifth native orchid species I have found here. If it doesn't make it this year, the important part of this perennial plant is a cluster of fleshy, thickened roots below. I will weed more carefully next year.

Finding jewels like this is why I hand weed and don't go for wholesale chemical annihilation to clear the ground and plant my garden in the wilderness. Some days that seems to make some sense. Other days I think I must be an insane masochist.


Lola said...

Hopefully it will bloom. If so please take a pic of the bloom so we can see it too. I think it's great that you have orchids there.

sallysmom said...

No, you must continue to weed the way you have been. Otherwise, how will we be able to see the treasures you have?

Anonymous said...

You inspire me to be more careful and look. I am of the persuasion to just clean it out. I can only hope to find some of the treasures you do in my wild lush.


Christopher C. NC said...

Lola I am hoping it will get to bloom. That will confirm the ID.

Sallysmom, I hand weed for your enjoyment.

Diane one advantage this particular spot of ground has in its high species count is that I think it has been undisturbed for a minimum of 50 years possibly longer. The slope direction NW, stream and wet all help.

Gaia Gardener: said...

I definitely think that hand weeding is the way to go, if at all possible. Not only do I find plants that I want to save, but I also find a lot of animal life that I wouldn't see otherwise - mainly insect, but occasionally toads, turtles, and so forth. Hand weeding also keeps me quiet and still enough to see more birds as they go about their daily routines.

Barry said...

Of course - "A weed is just a flower in the wrong place", I've been told. I, too, have a masochistic streak that makes me hand-weed even the scraggly Paspalum lawn. I quit using herbicides in the 70's after the bitter lesson of killing my first really decent garden by mistake. The weedwhacker has even butchered an occasional stray desirable, sadly, but tidy has its virtues, too.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

If I found some jewel such as this I would always hand weed.