Mariton: Showy Orchis

May 6, 2011

MANCHON Showy orchis

The Showy Orchis (Galearis spectabilis) is blooming at Mariton.  This is a very pretty, but very small orchid that is native in Pennsylvania.  These photos were taken by Denis Manchon.

MANCHON Single Orchis Blossom

Enjoy viewing orchids where you find them.  Orchids are very dependent on fungal mychorizae in the soil.  Transplanting them from a forest into a yard will likely fail.  I have been very pleased that the Showy Orhis is spreading at Mariton.  It could be that the forest and its soils are maturing to allow germination.

On the other hand, the spread coincides with a concerted effort to remove Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) from Mariton.  Garlic mustard is an invasive plant that is believed to actually impede the growth of fungal mychorizae.  Many native  trees and herbaceous plants (including orchids) rely on mychorizae for nutrients.  I feel that the removal of garlic mustard explains the spread of orchids, trilliums, and other wildflowers in Mariton’s woods.

You can help.  We will be pulling Garlic Mustard along the trails at Mariton from 1 – 4 p.m this Saturday, May 7.  This plant has been greatly reduced, but there are still a few patches that I would like to remove this spring.