Calypso is a genus with a single species and four varieties in the Orchidaceae family found in Eurasia and North America. It has a rootstock that is a corm-like structure. The flowers trick bees into pollination without giving them any rewards.

Calypso bulbosa var. americana is native to eastern North America. This variety has a yellow patch on the lip that mimics a stamen.

Calypso bulbosa var. bulbosa is native to Sweden to far eastern Russia.

Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis is native to southeastern Alaska south throughout western North America. This variety does not have a yellow patch on the lip. It has a single leaf and a single flower. In Northern California it is found in moist coniferous woods and is one of the early spring wildflowers that people delight in seeing each year. It can be grown in gardens if there are conditions in that garden that it likes, but most of us just admire it in the wild. Photos 1-2 by Mary Sue Ittner. The first one was taken in Stillwater Regional Park, Sonoma County, and the second in Mendocino County where it was growing in the shade of Coast Redwood trees. Photo #3-4 from Bob Rutemoeller show the new leaf with an emerging flower bud and a close-up of the flower. The last photo taken by Mary Hunter shows a rare white form.

Calypso bulbosa, Mary Sue IttnerCalypso bulbosa, Mary Sue IttnerCalypso bulbosa, Bob RutemoellerCalypso bulbosa, Bob RutemoellerCalypso bulbosa, Mary Hunter

The photos below were taken on Mt. Tamalpais State Park by Nhu Nguyen.

Calypso bulbosa, Nhu NguyenCalypso bulbosa, Nhu NguyenCalypso bulbosa, Nhu NguyenCalypso bulbosa, Nhu Nguyen

Calypso bulbosa var. speciosa is native from Tibet to Japan.

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Page last modified on May 12, 2011, at 07:24 AM