Epipactis gigantea

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Thu, 17 Jul 2003 07:15:57 PDT
Dear All,

Our wildflower season is winding down now although we are still enjoying 
the starry flowers of the Chlorogalum on those hot days we walk in the 
evening. A couple of weeks ago however we saw this orchid on one of our 
hikes growing close to the Gualala River. It is probably covered by water 
during the winter months when the River runs high, but now is growing in 
the gravel. A lot of our local orchids really need a hand lens to 
appreciate as the flowers are quite small, but this one has larger flowers. 
This species has rhizomes and this particular plant is expanding each year. 
My field guide says that it is found on the margins of lakes, streams, and 
springs in the Pacific states. I saw a picture of this species in a slide 
shown by Roger Raiche at a California Horticultural Society meeting as it 
grows on his property, the Cedars, which has serpentine soil and can be 
very hot in summer (and VERY wet in winter.)I thought it was very pretty at 
the time but thought it would need to be quite wet to grow well, but now I 
wonder how dry it would be in summer. Epipactis gigantea is listed in the 
Telos Catalog and maybe Diana will tell us how she grows it. I haven't made 
a Wiki page yet for it, but here are pictures Bob took:
And for size:

You may remember that we were discussing how to arrange field guides. My 
friend who arranges by color and is rewriting her book was along so we 
began to discuss where she was going to put this plant. She uses white, 
yellow, red, pink, blue, green, and brown as the choices. She was going to 
put it in pink, but had changed her mind to yellow. Most of us voted brown 
as from a distance that is what you notice, but my husband thought green. 
Another said mauve would be good, but my friends just groaned and said 
there wasn't going to be a mauve. I looked it up in Peterson (Pacific 
States Wildflowers) which also arranges by color and it is described as 
having yellow-green flowers, but is on a page that is the transition from 
orange to pink (because of the lip which they describe as orange.) I know 
the colors on everyone's computers will be a little different so don't know 
what you all will think. This certainly illustrates how a few plants are 
challenging to classify by color.

Mary Sue
Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers

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