Orchids closer to home - Stream Orchids on Loma Prieta

Epipactis gigantea, stream orchid, on Loma Prieta

I've been enjoying Town photos from her recent epic hiking tour in Germany - including those lovely lady slipper orchids.

I also saw some wonderful orchids recently, in our own neck of the woods -- pictured above.

This was on a hike, a couple weekends ago. I and a few friends and some other folk joined Randall Morgan, locally revered naturalist, CNPS Fellow, and subject of accolades besides -- that don't seem to have affected him a whit other than to make him feel a little awkward about it all.

Randall Morgan
 If you are local you can join in one of Randy's upcoming hikes, as posted on the Santa Cruz CNPS web site. (I also wrote about him here if you want to know more about Randy himself.)

The hit of the whole trip of course was that large patch of stream orchids in full bloom, near the top of the highest peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains (at 3,791 feet).

Same patch of stream orchid - showing more

SFGate has a nice article on them here. Says you can grow stream orchid in your garden, under a variety of conditions, though it prefers humus-rich, moist soil in morning or filtered sun. Another interesting fact: "The lower lip and tongue move when the flower is touched or shaken, leading to the alternate name chatterbox orchid."

They were growing to the right (as you face it) of this spring. Unfortunately I didn't find out what the stonework and piping were about...

There was a lot more to relish on that day's hike. I'll post about it another time...


Jason said…
The orchids are quite small but there are so many on a stem. A lovely wildflower.
The orchids are lovely when alone and when they are in masses. Thanks!
Country Mouse said…
Thanks for dropping a comment - I wish I had gotten a close up of one - the stream orchids were pretty and such a surprise to find near all that chaparral type habitat.