Calopogon is a genus of five terrestrial species in the family Orchidaceae with tuberous corms found almost entirely in the southeastern United States. The prominent tuft on the upper petal referred to in the Latin name, which means "beautiful beard", is not the location of the pollen. It serves as an attractant and when the pollinator grasps it, the flower folds in half in such a way that pollinia is stuck to the pollinators back or retrieved from the pollinators at the next flower. The various species occur in open wet flatwoods, wet prairies, and seepage slopes.
Calopogon pallidus is a species found near the coast along the coastal plain from North Carolina south to Georgia and north Florida, west through the panhandle to Louisiana. As the name suggests the flowers are generally pale pink, but the coloration seems to be more variable than other species in the genus. These photographs were taken in Bay, Gulf, and Liberty Counties in the Florida panhandle. Photos by Alani Davis.
This is the pigment free forma albiflorus. These were photographed in the Apalachicola National Forest in Liberty County, Florida. Photos by Alani Davis.
Calopogon tuberosus is the most widespread and common species found north to Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas and west to Texas. Generally, a shade of bright to dark pink though there is a pigment-free white form of this species as well. These photographs were taken in Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Liberty Counties in the Florida panhandle. The characteristic folding of the flower described in the genus description can be observed in one of the flowers in the fourth photograph. Photos by Alani Davis.
Calopogon tuberosus is available in commercial trade in purple and, though rarely, in white. Martin Bohnet finds it an easy species in the bog garden, where the tubers grow in the living sphagnum moss and increase readily. The only relevant pests are slugs, as always in the constantly wet bog environment.