An Orchid Encounter


If you hadn’t seen the eagles on the nest last night, I wouldn’t have left early this morning to see them too. They weren’t there. I decided to drive the loop I used to go back to Carrier Mills on the spring bird counts and the butterfly counts I did way back when.

On the drive I remembered that this is the middle of July and immediately remembered what blooms on this loop the middle of July. And I found 2 growing together — purple fringeless orchids!

If I’d come in from the opposite direction, I would’ve never seen these because of the height of plants between them and the road. The arrow points to them; they just aren’t showy enough to show well in the picture. I was wearing sandals and was not about to wade through the thick of things to get a closer picture. I wouldn’t have, even if I had shoes or boots on.

At a glance they resemble the pink phlox that commonly blooms at the same time and in same areas. Purple fringeless orchids are slightly darker and have different shaped infloresence.

Purple fringeless orchids (Platanthera peramoena) grow in southeast Illinois. They bloom in July, maybe into August and are found in a variety of open moist habitats. They are considered uncommon. Another place where I know they grow is at the bottom of a steep bank, on a curve of a highway. This place is much easier to access.

The following are some of the plants that commonly grow with the orchid at this location.

Partridge pea

Monkey flower

Mountain mint

Common milkweeds



6 responses to this post.

  1. Sorry you didn’t see the eagles, maybe next time, but what a wonderful find in the meantime!


  2. Pretty flowers! Even the monkey one 🙂


  3. Posted by Therese on July 22, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Hey…I’m famous…my name is in print!!! Woo Hoo!!!!
    Great, as usual! Thanks for the pictures of all of the flowers. Now, I know the names of some of the flowers on the Tunnel Hill Bike Trail. I would ride past them and regret not knowing their names.


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