showy orchis

(Galearis spectabilis)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

showy orchis

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

Occasional

Habitat

Moist. Mature deciduous woodlands. Deep shade. Rich soil.

Flowering

May 11 to June 10

Flower Color

Pinkish-purple and white

Height

3 to 10


Identification

This is a 3 to 10 tall perennial orchid. It rises on a pair of basal leaves and single stem from an underground tuber atop a cluster of 2 to 8 thick, fleshy roots. The tuber is slender, 1½ to 4 long, and vertically oriented. The roots are up to 6 long and spread out horizontally.

In its first year the plant produces a single aboveground leaf and a new underground tuber and roots. The leaves die back in October or November. In subsequent years two leaves are produced. After four to six years it produces a single flowering stem.

The leaves are dark green, shiny, thick, somewhat succulent, and parallel-veined. The blades are broadly elliptic or inversely egg-shaped to nearly circular, 3½ to 8 long, and ¾ to 4 wide. The lower leaf is rounded at the tip. The upper leaf is narrower and more pointed at the tip. Both are gradually tapered at the base and wrap around (sheath) the stalk. The upper and lower surfaces are hairless. The margins are untoothed.

The flowering stem is green, hairless, leafless, erect, unbranched, and 3 to 10 long.

The inflorescence is a showy, unbranched cluster (raceme) of 2 to 10 flowers at the end of the stem. Each flower is subtended by a single modified leaf (bract). The bract is leaf-like, lance-shaped to elliptic, to 3 long, and 3 16to ¾ wide.

Each flower is ¾ to 1 long and is upside down due to the twisting of the flower stalk. There are 3 sepals, 3 petals, 1 stamen, no staminodes, and 1 style. The filament of the stamen is fused to the style forming a column. The sepals are pinkish-purple, rarely white, egg-shaped to elliptic, to ¾ long, and to ¼ wide. The lateral two sepals curve upward and overlap the “upper” sepal forming a hood over the column. The lateral petals are pinkish purple, linear, and to long. They arch over and overlap the sepals becoming part of the hood overlapping the column. The “lower” petal (lip) is white, rarely tinged pink, egg-shaped, to 11 16 long, and ¼ to wide. It hangs downward, is constricted at the base, and has wavy margins. The base of the petal is modified into a narrow, club-shaped, to ¾ long spur.

The fruit is an erect, ellipse-shaped, strongly ribbed, to 1 long capsule with numerous tiny seeds.

 
Similar
Species

Roundleaf orchis (Galearis rotundifolia) has only one basal leaf. The lip of the flower is less than long, has conspicuous purple spots, and has three lobes, the terminal one notched.


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 25, 28.


Comments

Early Bloomer
Showy orchis is the first orchid to bloom in the spring in Minnesota.


Taxonomy

Family:

Orchidaceae (orchid)

 

Subfamily:

Orchidoideae

 

Tribe:

Orchideae

 

Subtribe:

Orchidinae

 
Synonyms

Galeorchis spectabilis

Orchis spectabilis

 
Common
Names

showy orchid

showy orchis

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.

 

column

The united filaments and style of an orchid. The structure formed by the united filaments of plants in the Mallow family.

 

filament

On plants: The thread-like stalk of a stamen which supports the anther. On Lepidoptera: One of a pair of long, thin, fleshy extensions extending from the thorax, and sometimes also from the abdomen, of a caterpillar.

 

linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

raceme

An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.

 

sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 

sheath

The lower part of the leaf that surrounds the stem.

 

spur

On flowers: a hollow tubular appendage, often containing nectar, formed from a sepal or petal. On branches: a short shoot bearing leaves or flowers and fruit.

 

staminode

A modified stamen that produces no pollen. It often has no anther. Plural: staminodia.

 

tuber

An underground root (as with dahlias) or stem (as with potatoes), thickened by the accumulation of reserved food (usually starch), which serves for food storage and vegetative propagation.

       

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Slideshows

   
  Orchis spectabilis (Showy Orchis)
Allen Chartier
 
  Orchis spectabilis (Showy Orchis)  
     
  Galearis spectabilis
Joshua Mayer
 
  Galearis spectabilis  
 
About

Showy Orchis

 
     
  Plant portrait - Showy orchis (Galearis spectabilis)
Identify that Plant
 
   
 
About

Published on May 1, 2014

A detailed look at the life cycle of Showy orchis (Galearis spectabilis). These images can help to accurately identify the plant during different seasons of the year.

 
     

 

slideshow

     

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  Galearis spectabilis (Showy Orchis)
wvoutdoorman
 
   
 
About

Published on Apr 26, 2012

Galearis spectabilis (Showy Orchis)

 
     
  Showy Orchid
DukeVan
 
   
 
About

Published on May 4, 2014

This is a short video of a showy orchid found in the woods near my home in Franklin County, Virginia.

 
     

 

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crouchley
5/12/2016

Location: Normandale Lake trail, Bloomington, MN


     
     
 

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